Sitting in her church pew years ago, Suzette Warren was praying for one thing: a kidney. After many years against wanting to try to find a new kidney and spending hours a week on dialysis, Warren decided that it was time to find a permanent solution.
Having family that went through the same trials of needing a new kidney, Suzette needed a new solution to live her live for her family and for her missions work with her husband. While most people who need organs find themselves on a waiting list hoping for a call in the middle of the night, through the grace of her church, Suzette found a kidney from a new friend.
Leslie recounts the support she had from the church that she called home: “By the time Leslie was aware of my story, she found out about it in a church bulletin. And I was very sick my husband and the Pastor got together and suggested we put it in the church bulletin. And so long story short, 21 people called Mayo Clinic to donate a kidney to me. Most of those were the wrong blood type. Only nine had the correct blood type if I remember correctly. So right before, I guess it was the fall, Leslie called me and said she had called and went through the testing and she was a match.”
Leslie Workman also went to the same church and discovered that a fellow church member needed a kidney through a church bulletin. For Leslie, giving a kidney seemed natural, “There’s um, there’s a purpose to that, to be able to improve someone’s life, and potentially save someone’s life—its, its just an amazing thing.”
Stories like Suzette’s and Leslie’s are not common. Most people who need an organ are helped by someone like Tommy Mulligan of Mayo Clinic. Mulligan is an organ pecuric nurse, a professional that coordinates people on the waiting list to receive organs. Mulligan explains, “So I will get an offer whether it’s daytime, nighttime, whenever it might be. I’ll start the evaluation process I’ll start to work with the doctors whether it’s cardiology, hepatology, pal menology, if it becomes the Mayo Clinic’s recipient’s turn to actually receive that organ and we think it’s a good organ for them, we’ll start the logistics process and we will call the OR, the blood bank, the plane teams to send them out and recover them and bring them home.”
People like Tommy make it possible for lives like Suzettes to last after needing organs, and give these people hope. Suzette, Leslie and Tommy Mulligan all stress the need for people of all ages to become organ donors, because if not for Leslie’s gift, Suzette might never have gotten a kidney.
For more information about how you can become a kidney donor, go to https://www.donatelifeflorida.org/.
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