Charity Center

Real Stories

Natasha's Story

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In February 2010, Natasha Coe posted on her Facebook that she was willing to donate her kidney to a stranger. Her post said: “After reading an article and recent events that have happened, I think I may donate one of my kidneys. If anyone know someone on the waiting list for one, let me know… And I’m serious (for once.) :).”

That post led Natasha to Debbie Will, a wife and a mother who was on the waiting list and was currently on dialysis. Debbie’s stepdaughter, Emily, saw Natasha’s post and responded. Emily and Natasha knew each other from high school. After talking back-and-forth, it was clear, Natasha found her match and donated her kidney to Debbie on April 3, 2012. The two remain in close contact and Natasha is glad she found a way to help someone that was fighting the same problem she sees people battle every day.

“I saw the diabetes problem with my community (African-Americans), and I know that one of the many things that may happen is that their kidneys fail and they may need dialysis,” Natasha said. “I wanted to help someone and since I don’t need it… well…” she added.

Becoming a living donor was a tough decision to make. Natasha weighed the pros and cons to make the right decision but she knew she could help a family who has been fighting and waiting for a transplant. She has become an advocate for organ, tissue, and eye donation, encouraging others to take the steps to help a stranger.

“If not living donation, consider putting the organ donation sticker on your driver’s license,” Natasha said.

If you would like to learn more about living donation, visit: http://kidneywi.org/programs-and-events/living-donation .  Take the next step to share your #NKFWGivingMoment at: http://kidneywi.org/ways-to-help/giving-tuesday .

To watch Natasha Coe’s “Does Anybody Need a Kidney” film trailer, visit: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2FefcKTdZIY&feature=youtu.be

Jain's Story

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John and Jain Apple - #GivingTime

It was just a casual conversation at lunch years ago that changed Jain and John Apples’ life. Little did Jain know that conversation would allow her to give back and honor her mother’s memory.  Jain’s mother, who was on dialysis, passed away due to kidney failure.

That was reason enough for Jain and John to volunteer their time to the National Kidney Foundation of Wisconsin. While at another charity event, Jain struck up a conversation with Betty M., whose granddaughter had kidney disease and was on dialysis. Betty told Jain that she was enjoying volunteering at the NKFW office and it inspired Jain to do the same.

The Apples haven’t stopped there - John and Jain have helped with screenings, participated in kidney walks and plan to help with more events to come.

Volunteers like John and Jain Apple help the NKFW greatly.

“Every person, no matter how much time they are able to give, can make a difference,” Jain said. “You can see it work. Cindy, Joycelyn and Amanda definitely need help and it’s definitely worth doing,” she added.

If you can donate time to the National Kidney Foundation of Wisconsin, visit our “Volunteer” page to learn more details. We’re hoping we can add you to the Giving Moments list. Be on the lookout for the next Giving Moments story.

 

Lincoln's Story

In May of 2014, Matt and his wife Karen, from Lisbon, went in for an ultrasound to see their future baby boy. They soon discovered that their son, Lincoln, would be born with only one kidney. Typically, the kidneys start down in the pelvic area and then they ascend to their normal spot behind the rib-cage. In Lincoln’s case, his kidneys never separated or ascended, resulting in a high-risk pregnancy. From that point forward, Lincoln needed to be checked on a weekly basis.

“From a parents perspective the hardest part is the unknowns. I think every parent wants their child to be perfectly normal so when you have the unknowns it can be very stressful especially because it can affect their long term health.”

During these checkups, the doctors looked for amniotic fluid to see that the kidney was functioning properly inside of the womb. After Lincoln was born in September of last year, he met with several specialists to determine that his kidney was still functioning well. Today, Lincoln is still healthy and will be checked up on periodically the rest of his life to make sure his kidney is still strong. If complications arise, Lincoln may need a transplant.

Matt and Karen got involved with the National Kidney Foundation of Wisconsin while researching their son’s condition. They found a lot of resources on the website and were able to learn more about the condition itself. They wanted to support the organization and see what it is all about. Matt participated in Capital City 5K run/walk last year. He really enjoyed the event and their family and friends created a team to are support Lincoln again this year. Matt is excited for the event because of the beautiful route and pool party celebration at the end.

“As Lincoln grows up, this is something that we can do to celebrate him and make him feel special.”

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Ron's Story

(image) When Ron’s daughter, Laura, was born, the joy of welcoming a baby girl was quickly put on hold –doctors told Ron and Sue that Laura would need a kidney transplant at some time in her life. When the time finally came, the family was informed that the transplant could come from someone other than a deceased donor. That is when the family agreed that Ron would be the one to give Laura the kidney she needed.

“It was a profound, changing time in my life,” Ron said.

Because of the process his family went through, he now understands what people go through while having a family member wait for a life-saving transplant and believes more families should have the conversation about organ donation.

“The list of people waiting keeps growing every day, and the number of living donors needs to increase to narrow the gap,” Ron said.

There are people who need help – it might not be in your family, it could be next door.

Ron is a regular contributor to the National Kidney Foundation of Wisconsin.

“If people can give to this cause, it can affect people in their own neighborhood,” Ron said. “The National Kidney Foundation is a good cause and people forget that people need these things,” he added.

We are hoping we can add you to the Giving Moments list. Make sure you’re next contribution to the National Kidney Foundation of Wisconsin is to support people who need our help.  Be on the lookout for the next Giving Moments story.

Kathie's Story

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Kathie, from Neenah, has experienced both ends of organ, tissue and eye donation. Throughout her life, Kathie has struggled with diabetes and managing her blood sugar. One night, her husband woke up and witnessed Kathie having a seizure because her blood sugar was at an all-time low.

She decided to take action and began seeing a kidney specialist. The doctor referred her to the UW clinic and she was able to receive a pancreas transplant four years ago. After her transplant, her life has changed immensely. She volunteers as much as she can to give back to her community by helping the local animal shelter, Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin – Fox Valley, and her granddaughter’s hockey league.

“It’s changed my life. I can’t say if I would still be here today to see my grandchildren, let alone enjoy them, had I not gotten my transplant. It gave me a life. Now, I find causes that I am passionate about and are dear to my heart. I do what I can to offer my assistance.”

Her father also struggled with a lifetime of diabetes. He passed away six years ago from heart failure, but was able to be an organ and tissue donor. Although his health was not the best, he was able to enhance so many lives.

“Even if you cannot give your organs, tissue is incredibly beneficial. My dad’s health was so bad, but he was able to give his skin. Think about how many burn victims can use that skin tissue to help them - I have no words.”

It will be Kathie’s first year at the Capital City 5K and she is very excited. She hopes for a stellar turnout and is ready to be a champion for another cause that is so close to home.