Sammy Needs A Kidney

“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 Brownlow and her proud dad.

Sammy Brownlow and her proud dad.

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 Brownlow

Sammy Brownlow

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,; 203-221-8442.




9 responses to “Sammy Needs A Kidney

  1. Debbie Wilson Hoult

    I was a kidney donor to my husband nearly 6 years. I would do it again as it changed his life and hasn’t impacted my health in any way. I was out of the hospital in two days and on the road to recovery. Do it. Save a life.

  2. Lee De Monico

    Our family has known Sammy all 20 years of her life. She is a wonderful young woman with a great spirit and tremendous strength.
    It is unbelievable what she and her family have been through dealing with years and years of this serious health condition.
    We would do anything to help her but unfortunately, none of us are compatible.
    We truly hope someone will step forward to help this terrific family.

  3. I am Sammy’s Grandmother and I cannot think of anyone more deserving of such a gift. She is a wonderful ,creative and bright young woman who has endured more than her share of surgeries and disappointment in receiving a healthy kidney. I hope she will get help soon.She has a bright future ahead of her and is dearly loved.

  4. vivianne pommier

    As a Kidney Transplant recipient, I can only share that:
    there are over 100,000 on the waiting list.
    You only need one kidney …. please think of recycling life.
    My donor was hiking in the Shenendoah’s 3 days after he donated a kidney.

    I strongly urge anyone reading 06880 to consider helping.
    If you are in good health, you won’t even notice the difference to your system.


  5. Beth Sharrin

    I am Sammy’s cousin, and in a second I give her mine if I was a match. By spreading the word, maybe there is someone out there that could help.

  6. Marcy Anson Fralick

    I learned on my 50th birthday that my right kidney never developed past a fetal stage and had never worked. I had no idea. I had it removed as it had become infected, and the recovery was minimal. I’ve spent my whole life with only one kidney, and it hasn’t affected my quality of life one bit. If you can, please donate. If you’re worried about only having one kidney, don’t. I lived for 50 years with only one kidney and never knew it, and I’ve lived 12 more years knowing it, yet it’s made absolutely no difference in my life at all. It’s an incredibly precious gift of life you can give another human being, that won’t affect your life much at all.

  7. Lee Lynn Caspari

    I have 2 good kidneys. If I can help Let me know. No reward needed. (614(266-6213.

  8. Lewis Chapell

    I feel you Scott, Karen and most of all, Sammy!
    I am going to share this with everyone I can because I am not a match and I’m also a survivor, as Sammy is!
    Peace and Love with you all!!!

  9. I’ll share this widely, Scott and Karen, bc the type O kidney can come from anywhere. I’ll tell the world! Hang in there, little dynamo! I first met Sammy when she was in elementary school, and dancing to me singing… I have video of this non-stop energetic performance that I love. <3