For Dorothea Duffy of Lincoln Park, the call came at midnight. A kidney was available for her.
It was a Sunday and she went to church and then came home, waiting for the next call that would determine, upon further testing, if this was the right kidney for her. She had been down this road before — eight other times when preliminary calls did not lead to a transplant.
She reached out to her nephrologist to help her determine if this was the right kidney, if it was eventually offered to her. Her doctor said the situation was as close to perfect as possible.
She waited. Then the call came. The kidney was hers. She accepted and began the two-hour drive from her home in Lincoln Park to the University of Pennsylvania Philadelphia Transplant Institute.
She had the transplant on January 27th of this year.
“The day was a bit of a blur, but I woke up to the loving faces of my husband and brother. And so the healing began,” Duffy said.
She will walk in NJ Sharing Network’s 5K Walk & USATF-Certified Race on June 8 in New Providence to give thanks to her second chance at life, and to express her thanks to her donor and donor family. She has walked in previous NJ Sharing Network 5K events while on the national transplant waiting list, but this will be her first as a kidney recipient.
“On my first visit to the Transplant Clinic after surgery I asked if I would be able to walk in the 5K in June. The answer was yes as long as I could walk at least a half hour prior to the walk. I’m already walking over an hour at times with my training,” she said.
The gift has changed her life.
“I am so excited about life and grateful to my donor family for the gift of life I received from their loved one. I no longer need to go to dialysis three times a week. My free time allows me to speed up my recovery. I am getting out, being active physically and socially, and doing more with my volunteer work,” she said.
In 2010, Dorothea, a graphic design manager, learned that she had developed Wegener's granulomatosis, an autoimmune disorder that causes inflammation of blood vessels and often leads to renal failure. She remained hospitalized for more than a month and left so sick she needed to learn to walk again.
Before the transplant, her life revolved around her dialysis appointments. “This year’s 5K Walk/Race is especially meaningful to me for now I walk to celebrate the gift I was blessed with on January 27th and to honor my donor and their family,” she said.
To join Team Dorothea or sign up for NJ Sharing Network’s 5K Walk and USATF-Certified Race, visit www.NJSharingNetwork.org. To learn more, get involved and register as an organ and tissue donor, visitwww.NJSharingNetwork.org or call NJ Sharing Network at 1-800-742-7365.
About NJ Sharing Network
NJ Sharing Network is a non-profit, federally designated organization responsible for the recovery and placement of donated organs and tissue for New Jersey residents in need of life-saving transplants. NJ Sharing Network partners with Donate Life America, a not-for-profit national alliance that drives communities to increase their numbers of registered donors. NJ Sharing Network honors those who gave, pays tribute to those who received, offers hope to those who continue to wait, and remembers the lives lost while waiting...for the gift of life.
About NJ Sharing Network Foundation
NJ Sharing Network Foundation is committed to supporting the work of NJ Sharing Network and to increasing the number of lives saved through education, research, donor family support and public awareness about the life-saving benefits of organ and tissue donation and transplantation.