Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Liane Becomes a Living Organ Donor To a Stranger To Save The Life of Her Mother

I will never forget my darkest day as a mother thus far, when my 2 year old son George was diagnosed with bacterial meningitis. As I sat by the side of his ICU crib for three days as he lay unconscious, I prayed for my sweet boy to wake up and act like the energetic and sweet boy we loved. It was surreal being on the other side of the bedside. I was usually the ICU nurse who was comforting the mother, not the other way around. The masses of doctors and nurses came in and out and were preparing me for the worst. They suspected that George was having seizures from the infection that surrounded his brain and we would not know his ultimate prognosis until he woke up. They thought there could be a chance that he would lose his hearing from this...I didn't care about hearing loss...we could learn sign language... I just wanted to be able to take my son home, back to our beautiful family life we had started together. I felt helpless, which is a terrible feeling for a mother and more so for a nurse who knew all the possibilities of complications that come along with bacterial meningitis. That feeling of wanting to save your child from the pain and suffering they are experiencing is unfortunately one of the realities that so many parents have to deal with when their child is sick. George spent 2 weeks in the hospital and I'm so thankful  to be able to say that besides being deaf in his left ear, he is just as normal as any little boy his age. He wears a hearing aid, or "magic ear" as he likes to call it.

The nightmare experience with our little George made me realize that, as a parent, I would have done anything to help make our son well again... and so I want to share the story of another parent, Garret, and his wonderful idea that has saved many lives. This was an idea that was born out of parent's love for his child and the same desire to save her life. It is also the story of Liane, who would do anything to save the life of her mother.

Last spring, we received an order from my college roommate Vanessa for one of our college girlfriends Liane, who was going to be donating her kidney to a complete stranger. I reached out to Liane and learned that she was going to be part of a 21 paired cross-country kidney transplant exchange....and she would be donating her kidney in return for her mother to receive a kidney that was a good match for her. These surgeries would be performed at UCSF, where I work as a RN, and are made possible because of an organization called the National Kidney Registry.

I wanted to know more about how these paired kidney exchanges worked, since many of them were being performed at UCSF, and when I read about Garret Hill, the founder of the National Kidney Registry, I knew exactly how he felt when he found out 36 hours before surgery that he wasn't a good match for his 10 year old daughter who suffered from kidney failure. It is a terrible and helpless feeling to watch you child suffer. Garret used his extensive background in business and software development and founded the National Kidney Registry. This allows willing donors, who might not be a perfect match for their loved one in need, to donate their kidney and in return their loved one will receive a kidney. This registry has decreased transplant wait time for their patients from up to 51 months to 11 months per their website and have been responsible for 276 transplants to date. They project to facilitate over 2,000 by the year 2013. We encourage you to watch Katie Couric's coverage of the National Kidney Registry on CBS Evening News below. With organizations like the National Kidney Registry, the success with live donor transplantation could be endless.

Here is a picture of Liane and her mother. We are happy to report that both Liane and her mother are doing well! Because Liane agreed to be part of a kidney exchange, her mother received a kidney in the 21 live donor chain. Talk about paying it forward! 

On the day that Liane so selflessly gave one of her kidneys at UCSF Medical Center, she celebrated the occasion in our Annie designer hospital gown. Here is what she said about wearing an Annie & Isabel hospital gown.

"A wonderful friend gave me an Annie & Isabel pink hospital gown prior to donating a kidney and being hospitalized. I can't tell you how cute, practical, and comfortable it was. I wore it the whole time I was in the hospital and every nurse commented on how cute it was. I love how it covers all the important "areas" unlike the coventional hospital gowns. It is a definite must have for any woman who has to spend and time in the hospital. I love my gown and still wear it at home as jammies!"

~Liane, Hawaii

Tomorrow we will have another post about organ donation. Please stop by and learn about another way to give the ultimate gift.... the gift of life! YOU could save a life or many. 

Here is a diagram of the cross-country kidney exchange that Liane and her mother were a part of. If you want to learn more about The National Kidney Registry, please visit these sites and help spread the word about living donor donations.



  1. I'm so thankful that Georgie pulled through. He gave us quite the scare.

    Wow! Incredibly moving program.



  2. Thanks for the wonderful mention! You are helping save lives by increasing awareness to those bound by the chains of dialysis. Many don't yet know that their incompatible donor(s) can be swapped nationally for a better match via our successful paired exchange program. You are helping give them hope!


    Joe Sinacore
    Director of Research
    National Kidney Registry

  3. I did not know about this program! What a great idea. Love the gowns! Keep up the good work!

  4. i want enter tiffany contest jennifer mensah on face book i posted your link on my face book i like the susan and my utube channel fcharles12 i ilked your face book site

  5. I entered Tiffanys Giveaway, and I also posted about the giveaway on my facebook and liked your page! My favorite gown in the Annie Gown. Id use this to deliver my baby girl in September.

  6. I'm entering Tiffany's contest. i have a disease called sickle-cell anemia. and i'm in the hospital a lot with this disease and it would be nice to have this gown to make hose hospital visits a little better. And i really like the Annie gown.

  7. I have posted about the giveaway on my Facebook page.