Tag Archives: Cathy Talmadge

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

A Kidney For Cathy Talmadge

2020 was bad for many Westporters.

It was even worse for Cathy Talmadge.

Five years ago, Cathy’s health started a mysterious decline. 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 Riley, or whip up dinner with husband Tom.

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

Cathy Talmadge

Cathy — beloved by many for her work with Wakeman Town Farm, Earthplace. Sherwood Island State Park and the RTM — was put on donation lists around the country. Unfortunately, it could take years before a kidney became available.

She was told too that dialysis might wreak havoc on her body. She could become very sick — possibly unable to have a transplant.

Family members were tested, but none were a match.

A group of friends is now getting the word out. With the clock ticking, they’ve devised a no-holds-barred campaign. Today, longtime friend and colleague Christy Colasurdo and a team of local volunteers launch A Kidney for Cathy. They want everyone to know her story.

And they want everyone reading this to share it far and wide. Somewhere in the world, they know, a life-saving donor is waiting.

The idea for the campaign was born after Christy’s friend Kira Krieger Senders secured a living kidney donor for her father through a creative multimedia campaign.

Christy was also moved by the ALS Pepper Challenge closer to home. It spread the word about Westport icon Patty’s Habestroh’s condition, raised more than $650,000 for research, and received national media attention. 

Nearly two-thirds of all live kidney donors come from marketing campaigns on Facebook and other social media platforms. That’s the focus of this campaign. 

Organizers say, “Anyone can help the campaign go viral by following our  Facebook and Instagram pages, liking posts, and visiting the A Kidney for Cathy website to learn more about becoming a kidney donor.

“Sharing the online posts will spread the message far and wide. The viral power of social media can literally save Cathy’s life.” 

A quick, confidential survey assesses whether an individual might be a good candidate to donate.

While helping Cathy, the campaign will also shine a spotlight on the 114,927 patients currently on a kidney or liver transplant waiting list in the US.

Christy says. “A big part of this will be about educating the public. I was blown away to learn that Cathy can receive a kidney transplant from someone who is not a direct match. Cathy just needs a kind and healthy person to donate a kidney on her behalf.

“If not a match, that kidney goes to another recipient, which then enables the National Kidney Registry to put Cathy in the recipient pool to identify her perfect match. One donation inspired by Cathy will save two lives.”

Christy also learned that kidney transplants are now done laparoscopically, through a small navel incision. Donors typically spend only 2 or 3 nights in the hospital, followed by a quick return to full health and athletic pursuits.

“Donors overwhelmingly report that the most lasting effect is the good feeling they get from power of their gift. Most say that they would donate again in a heartbeat,” Christy adds.

A plea from Cathy Talmadge’s daughter.

Christy and other team members — including website designer (and Staples High School sophomore) James Dobin-Smith, graphic artist Miggs Burroughs, social media consultant Terri Piekara and Wakeman Town Farm co-chair Liz Milwe –ask everyone reading this to pass it along via their social networks. A toolkit on the website includes graphics to post or share

Questions about donating a kidney? Want to get more involved? Email  Akidney4cathy@gmail.com

Greet Spring — Get Geiger’s Greenhouse!

Geiger’s is gone.

Soon, it will be replaced by 12 residential rental units — 2 of them classified as “affordable” — plus a business and bank. The barn will be disassembled, with the components hopefully used inside the retail structures.

Which leaves the greenhouse. It’s yours for the taking.

A side view of the greenhouse...

A side view of the greenhouse…

Approximately 22 feet long and 12 feet wide, it’s attached to the main building. That means it lacks one side.

It sits on a stone foundation. It looks like the metal frame could be taken apart (unscrewed), and reassembled fairly easily.

Who wants it? A school, perhaps? Or a business that promotes gardening or fresh food?

Whoever claims it must act fast. After the barn is taken apart next week, the main building goes next.

Cathy Talmadge is happy to help in any way she can — including with disassembling. If you’re interested — or want more information — email cathytalmadge@optonline.net.

...and the door. (Photos/Cathy Talmadge)

…and the door. (Photos/Cathy Talmadge)