Joan Wellman of Flusburg wants to be 18 again.
If the 67-year-old search succeeds on the Western New York website, Wellman will be the 18th person to find a living donor on the Kidney Connection website.
She needs a second transplant after starting dialysis in July 2020 after her kidney function was rated at 30%. She has an O blood type, which is also the same blood type needed for a potential donor.
“I’m on dialysis because it can’t support me.” She said. “I think I can stay for a while (during dialysis), but it won’t last forever.”
Wellman was lucky enough to receive his kidneys in 2012 from a living donor, Gale Smith, who attended Randolph High School with Wellman.
“When someone moves forward, it’s pretty exceptional.” Wellman said. “I once experienced the benefits of empowering a living donor, and I know how lucky I am to find a lucky match for transplant number 2. This blessing is lost to me. No. I hope someone finds it in me and goes through this second chance process for me. “
Wellman was diagnosed with polycystic kidney disease in his twenties. Following her diagnosis, she said she followed a strict diet to help her kidney function so she could live longer. However, in 2000 she was diagnosed with breast cancer and had to undergo chemotherapy and radiation therapy to defeat the deadly illness. However, the sacrifice of treatment to defeat the cancer adversely affected her kidney function.
“I learned a lot,” She mentioned choosing chemotherapy and radiation therapy to defeat cancer, despite its effects on the kidneys. “I am grateful every day” She said.
Wellman knew of the kidney connection for her father and siblings when she was told in July that she needed another kidney transplant. She also needed a kidney transplant and died of illness. She also said that many of her friends know Jeanette Caprino, co-founder and president of Kidney Connection.
“It’s great that women like Janet help people.” Wellman said. “If you have kidney disease and need it, it’s embarrassing and embarrassing. She can help you move forward. That’s good.”
Originally from Jamestown, Caprino launched a kidney connection website in 2006 when his son Paul Cardinale needed a second kidney transplant. When Paul Cardinale first needed a kidney in 1994, his father, Peter Cardinale, was a match, so finding a donor was easy. However, finding a donor a second time was not so easy because the other families did not match.
“I had to go to the internet to find his donor” Caprino said. “There was a lot of controversy about internet providers at the time. The hospital refused to test the person I found because I met them on the internet. They refused to do it. I had to be a loved one or a family member. “
Caprino said a year later, a change in hospital policy allowed him to find online donors using websites across the country.
“After successfully finding my son as a donor, I launched a local website.” She said. “It paved the way for people to go online, defend themselves and find live donors.”
Caprino said his son is still doing well today after a successful second kidney transplant. If she couldn’t find a donor online, she said her son might have been waiting for more than five years to receive a donor from a national waiting list.
“Donors have a huge need. You can’t sit there waiting for it to happen. I wasn’t going to allow my son to wait on the list. I really did for it Had to fight. “ She said. “It’s not good to be on the waiting list. You get sick more and more while you sit there and wait. So the best option is to find a living donor.”
Since 2006, Kidney Connection has helped 17 people find donors directly, according to Caprino. She said there are currently 30 to 40 people looking for kidney donors on their website.
“We always said we would save incredible lives, but now we have saved quite a few people.” She said. “It’s important to know that you can be a living donor, as many people aren’t aware of it. You only need one, you have two.”
According to Caprino, it doesn’t cost to post a profile on the Kidney Connection website. She said the site’s success has increased over the last decade as social media has grown. For more information on Kidney Connection, please visit kidneyconnection.org. To contact Wellman if you suspect a match, call 499-7681 or send an email to [email protected]
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