Meet Eileen. She's in need of a kidney
The back story:
Eileen’s story began decades ago when she was first diagnosed with Systemic Lupus Erythematosus, an inflammatory disease that occurs when the body’s immune system attacks its own tissues and organs. For Eileen, the organs most affected by this horrible disease are her kidneys. In her early thirties her kidneys completely shut down and in July of 2002 she underwent surgery to receive a new kidney that was lovingly donated by her sister Heather. For over fourteen years and because of Heather’s unselfish gift, Eileen was able to live a relatively normal life.
In late 2015 we learned that Eileen’s kidneys were once again failing and she was in need of another transplant. She started receiving plasmapheresis treatments to see if they could clear out the bad antibodies that Heather’s Kidney was creating, but this did not work as hoped and Eileen ended up on dialysis treatments and was placed on the transplant list. Other family members started to get tested and unfortunately none were eligible to donate due to their antibodies being too close of a match to Heather. In early 2016 an angel was found in a friend and co-worker named Nancy Lavoie. In late 2016 Eileen received a second kidney donation from Nancy. The surgery was successful and Eileen was once again able to live a relatively normal life.
Sadly, this did not last.
Things got more dire: In early 2020 Eileen started showing signs that the kidney was beginning to fail. Since kidneys received from a living donor usually last much longer than four years it was suspected that something else was going on that was causing the kidney to fail faster than normal. Further testing showed the unthinkable and it was discovered that Eileen had breast cancer. She immediately started treatment and in August of that year (yes, in the middle of COVID), she had surgery to remove the cancer which included having a mastectomy.
As if that weren’t enough, it was further discovered that Eileen also had squamous cell carcinoma which is a form of skin cancer. Fortunately, because she was already under the watchful care of doctors, they were able to catch the SCC very early and in June of 2021 she had surgery to have the cancer removed.
As you can imagine, this has been an excruciating journey both physically and mentally for Eileen, but we are happy to say that she is now in remission from both cancers.
However....unfortunately, the kidney that she received in 2016 did not survive all the additional treatments that she had to undergo and she is once again on dialysis and in need of another transplant.
The good news: If you know anything about Eileen it is that she continues to amaze and inspire us with her strength and positive attitude. She has an undeniable faith and a sheer love of life that just won’t let her stop fighting. Her spirit is infectious.
Eileen’s previous life-saving transplants were made possible thanks to the unbelievably, selfless acts of living donors.
If you have ever considered giving the gift of LIFE, we are asking that you consider it now, for our friend Eileen. We know that Eileen has an enormous circle of friends that she has formed over the years. The bonds she forms with people last because she is one of the most kind, caring, optimistic, and giving people we have ever known.
She can teach us all something about resilience.
“Act as if what you do will make a difference. It does.”~ William James