She gets up every morning, puts on her lipstick and does her hair. She’s afraid if she doesn’t make the effort that she could succumb to the devastation that comes with being told she hasn’t much time left.
But that is the reality Kandace Dewberry faces each day as the functioning percentage for her one working kidney continues to drop. Today, two years after she was first diagnosed with kidney disease, she’s at a lowly 15 percent.
Now, she needs someone to step forward and give the gift of life. She needs a kidney and she needs it fast.
The last two years living with this disease has been diffi- cult,” Kandace says. As a person who is normally active and on the go, she doesn’t have much energy and finds that she tires easily. Add to that nausea and difficulty breathing, and Kandace finds herself missing out on the things she loves most. Like traveling. And visiting the beach. “It just tears you apart,” she says, recalling a recent trip to Hilton Head Island. “I tried to walk the short distance to go look at the water, and I just couldn’t make it. I got so out of breath. I keep thinking I can do all the things I used to do.”
However, a new kidney could revitalize Kandace and give her the opportunity to continue enjoying a life she’s loved. “I will feel good again and be able to do all the things I used to do. My husband has a few more years of working and we always had a dream of traveling once he retired. We have six wonderful children and many grandchildren and a real busy life which we love. We are not ready to give up.” Though she and her husband have a large family who all tested to be donors, none of them were able to donate for various reasons.
She is on the kidney donor list and is working with Emory Hospital in Atlanta in hopes that a match will be found. Kandace explains that the procedure is very straightforward. “You cannot have ever had cancer, heart disease or kidney stones. Otherwise, if you are healthy, you can be tested.”
To start the process, interested donors should call Emory at 855.366.7989, request the kidney transplant department and state that they want to be tested for Kandace Dewberry. A fiveminute online application will follow, and qualified donors will then move forward to a urinalysis and local lab work. The next phase takes place at Emory, where a donor receives X-rays, MRI and other noninvasive tests while also talking with the surgeon.
“That is it!” Kandace says, excited at the thought of finding a match. “My insurance pays for everything. My blood type is (O) which would be a perfect match. However, you don’t need to be a match. If your blood type is anything else they can do a pairing, which means they can trade your kidney for one I need and give yours to that person who has one that matches them. You would probably be in the hospital two days, and if you have a desk job, out of work one week.”
Kandace is thankful to have made it through Christmas and hopes to see another holiday, another birthday. She counts each day as a blessing, knowing the seriousness of her condition but refusing to let it define her. “I can’t feel sorry for myself. I just won’t do that,” she says. “There’s still hope for my life. I need a kidney. You only need one good kidney. Please consider donating.”
This story previously appeared in The True Citizen