“06880” reader Scott Brownlow writes:
My daughter Sammy needs a kidney. Can anyone spare one?
That’s the short version.
This is the longer version: My 20-year-old daughter Sammy is, like her mother Karen Minkowitz, a lifelong Westport resident.
Sammy is short (only 4-7), quiet, and generally quick to smile. She is intelligent, kind and gentle, and has a great laugh.
What you don’t see are the many scars crisscrossing her belly and wrapping around to her back. They’re a testament to the many surgeries she has endured over the years. You don’t see that she is in kidney failure.
Sammy was born with congenital anomalies known as VATER syndrome. At some point early in utero, Sammy’s cellular division took a wrong turn. Some lower abdominal organs were duplicated. Others made improper connections. This resulted in the loss of 1 kidney, and structural issues with the remaining one.
Multiple surgeries corrected these anomalies as much as modern medicine could. The surgeries also took a toll on her kidney function. She now needs a transplant.
In spite of all this, Sammy has been doing well. She attended preschool at the Learning Community, graduated from Unquowa School in Fairfield as valedictorian, attended Hopkins in New Haven and is currently pre-med at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.
Sammy is hard-working, diligent, and honest to a fault. She loves to read, do Ken Kens, learn languages (real and fictional), assemble jigsaw puzzles, play the ukulele, sing and practice archery.
I always assumed I would be the donor, when she got to this point. I am blood type O positive, like Sammy.
In January I began the process. Stress test, EKG, X-ray, blood work, psych evaluation, GFR — all looked good.
But my kidneys appeared strange in the CT scan, and doctors at New York Presbyterian Hospital decided it was not a viable option. Family and friends have stepped up, but no one has been cleared to donate.
Transplant centers are very careful about ensuring that a donor is in excellent health, and able to donate without any impact on their life. The surgery is minimal these days, performed laparoscopically. Recovery is quick. Costs are covered by the recipient. Click here for more information.
The initial step is to have blood drawn, to see if you are a match. If you are an O blood type donor, and would consider donating your kidney, please contact us: Scott and Karen Brownlow, firstname.lastname@example.org; 203-221-8442.