Cathy Talmadge Gets A Kidney!

2021 was quite a year for Cathy Talmadge.

On January 11, Christy Colsaurdo and a team of volunteers launched “A Kidney for Cathy.” The goal was to find a donor for the well-respected Westporter. She’d spent 5 years in declining health. The avid swimmer gardener, environmentalist, traveler, reader and cook could barely get out of bed, much less work in her gardens, walk her golden retriever or whip up dinner with her husband Tom.

After many visits to medical specialists, Cathy had been diagnosed with a rare form of sarcoidosis. The debilitating autoimmune disease ravaged her organs. In stage 4 kidney failure, she required a live donor transplant as quickly as possible.

She knew tons of people through her work with Wakeman Town Farm, Earthplace. Sherwood Island State Park and the RTM. But finding a kidney was difficult.

Family members were tested, but none were a match.

Cathy’s name was on donation lists around the country. Yet it can take years before a kidney becomes available.

So Cathy’s many friends went to work. Somewhere in the world, they knew, a life-saving donor was waiting. They also knew that two-thirds of all live kidney donors come from marketing campaigns on social media. They hoped a creative approach could help.

The year was an emotional roller coaster.  Many generous people — including several from Westport — stepped up to be screened, to assess their chances of becoming a viable kidney donor.

Nearly all were disqualified, for one reason or another.

But at 4 a.m. Wednesday — 1 year and 1 day from the start of “A Kidney for Cathy” — she got a call from Yale New Haven Transplant Center.

A deceased donor kidney had become available. Could she come right in for a transplant?

Five hours later — minutes before being wheeled into the operating room — she shared the great news with Christy and others. She asked them to pass along her appreciation for all the kind people who supported her — and of course to the donor and the donor’s family.

The transplant procedure lasted 3 hours. Cathy is doing well in recovery. Her doctors say she’ll return to Westport soon.

With her new kidney, Cathy can resume most of the activities she enjoyed most before falling gravely ill. She’ll swim, hike, travel — and contribute immeasurably to the life of our town..

Christy says, “Many pieces had to fall into place for this transplant to become a reality. Over 90,000 Americans are awaiting kidney donors, so this ending is nothing short of a miracle.

“Credit it to the incredibly selfless people in town who came forward to form Cathy’s ‘village.’ Everyone who sent a card, dropped off a meal, called to check in or underwent testing to become a donor, truly made a difference.”

Congratulations, Cathy! Best wishes for a speedy recovery.

To learn more about donating a kidney, click here. For information on registering as an organ donor through the Connecticut Department of Motor Vehicles, click here

19 responses to “Cathy Talmadge Gets A Kidney!

  1. Debbie Wilson Hoult

    All the best Cathy. May they balance your meds swiftly as you return to normal life. Today is the 13 th Kidneyversary for my husband: it’s been a miraculous return to normality for him, for us. Full speed ahead!

  2. WONDERFUL!!!!!
    So great to read wonderful new! Hooray Cathy!!

  3. WoooooHooooo Cathy!!! This was fabulous news to wake up to! I’m so happy for you and your family! Please someone let us know how we can help during RECOVERY TIME!!! 💛💛💛 LOVE YOU, betz and Dan

  4. This is absolutely the best news! Wishing you a swift and easy recovery, Cathy!

  5. Fabulous news, Cathy! I got a call on Thurs from Yale New Haven saying I was no longer on the list so I was keeping my fingers crossed that the news was a good one. Sending healing thoughts for a full and speedy recovery.

  6. Wonderful news! Congratulations Cathy, to you and your family! Wishing you an easy recovery and all the best as your life gets back to normal.

  7. This is as good as news gets. Congratulations to Cathy, and kudos to Christy and all those who helped make it happen!

  8. Abdsolutely beautiful, glorious news! So happy for you, Cathy, and for the terrific team that helped this happen!

  9. So very happy for Cathy and her family. It is wonderful that great things do happen in our lives. Wonders do happen but sometimes it takes awhile.

  10. I am very impressed with the support given her in the quest to find her a new kidney! And it worked!!! It does take a village! Great outcome. God Bless

  11. Congratulations to Cathy. She has done so much for our community and we are so happy she was successful in getting a kidney transplant. Thanks to Christy Colasurdo for her incredible campaign!

  12. Wendy Goldwyn Batteau

    Wonderful, such grand news! Congratulations to Cathy and to all who supported her. I’m so very happy about this – and wishing for a speedy, easy recovery. Yayy!!

  13. Hi Dan,
    Thanks for sharing this! My husband Tom Siebrasse, who lived in Westport CT for many years gets your newsletter and shared this with me.

    Tom donated his kidney to me 2 years ago and doing GREAT! I would love to send Cathy a card, if it’s possible to get her address? Us kidney recipients need to connect to one another!

  14. Thank you everyone! I am getting ready to leave today (leaving ahead of schedule!) and feeling really well and so appreciate all the support I have gotten from friends and family and this incredibly generous and active community! Diane I would love to contact you. I will send you a message with my phone number and email.

  15. Cathy has been my best friend for 35 years and watching her health decline so dramatically over the past five has been heart wrenching and frightening. So I cried tears of pure joy when I got word of her kidney transplant last Wednesday morning, and still cry every time I think about getting my vibrant bestie and sister back whole and in good health again. I am so grateful to Christy and our whole kidney campaign team, everyone who stepped up as donors, her medical team, the donor and family, and this incredible community for helping to save my best friend’s life. ❤️

  16. What wonderful news! Wishing you a speedy recovery Cathy. See you soon on Zoom.

  17. Andrew Colabella

    Good things happen to good people! Speedy recovery and I look forward to seeing you soon on Zoom 🇺🇸

  18. All the Friends of Sherwood Island are THRILLED to hear of your news, Cathy!

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