As parents, we would do anything for our kids, even if it meant jeopardizing our own health and safety. For one California mom, however, even that is not an option for her daughter suffering from kidney failure. You are going to be amazed at this mother’s story.
Jenna Franks has been struggling with kidney failure since she was fifteen years old. At eighteen, when many of her peers were heading to college, Jenna began daily dialysis treatments.
Now, more than twelve years since starting dialysis, she has been in desperate need of a new kidney for three years. Unfortunately, her family, where most organ donations are derived, are incompatible.
Her mother was desperate to find a suitable donor, but the three year long search has been as yet fruitless.
Recently she had a remarkable idea: Jenna’s mother painted a simple message “Daughter needs kidney, type ‘O’,” along with her email address, across the rear window of her truck in hopes that some motorist might see the desperate plea and respond. This rolling billboard may have worked.
Another Pasadena resident was driving behind jenna’s mother and saw the message. Thinking quickly, Tatum Bateman took a picture of the message and posted it to her twitter account, along with the caption “This needs to go viral!”
Speaking with the local NBC affiliate, Bateman said “I posted the picture and it got like 8,000 retweets!”
Just days after circulating in social media, twenty five people came forward as willing donor candidates. They have been tested for suitability and when the results are in, some lucky stranger may be able to give up a healthy kidney so that the thirty one year old woman can finally get on with her life.
Jenna’s mother has tried so many different avenues to find a donor, including YouTube videos and other social media campaigns, but it was the random act of a complete stranger responding to a direct call for action that has given their family hope.
She says “It’s hard not to give her the one thing I know she needs. As a mother you would give your right arm if it would save them. so this is what I can do.”
Organdonor.org reports that there are currently more than one hundred and nineteen thousand people currently awaiting organ transplants in the United States. While ninety five percent of Americans say they support organ donor programs, only about half that number actually sign up to become donors, which is a serious problem because only about one in three hundred people die in a way that makes organ harvesting possible.
One otherwise healthy donor can actually save the lives of up to eight recipients. Tragically, one new person is added to organ transplant registries every ten minutes, while twenty two people die every day in this country, waiting for transplants.
All of this makes it vitally important that we each make sure we register with our state organ donation registry, and that we inform our family about our decisions as well as including our wishes in end of life directives, wills, and other legal documents, so that our loved ones and medical staff can make informed decisions quickly when we pass.
Have you registered as an organ donor yet? Have you been a transplant recipient? Please share your stories with us here.