More than 100,000 candidates for organ transplants are on a national waiting list, and as of January 2019, over 83% of those people are in need of a kidney. One of them is a woman from Boardman who is asking the Valley for some help.
Elida Evans started having kidney trouble 11 years ago. It stemmed from high blood pressure, which is a leading cause of kidney failure.
“When the filtration rate for your kidneys reaches a certain point they’ll refer you for a transplant, and mine reached that point several years ago,” she said.
Evans’ filtration rate is down to 12 to 13 milliliters a minute. She’s been on the transplant list at UPMC and the Cleveland Clinic for over two years. If she doesn’t get the transplant, she’ll likely need dialysis soon.
“That’s not really something I’m looking forward to, but essentially that’s what is going to happen,” Evans said.
So far, 12 donors have come forward, all rejected for medical reasons.
“Each time, you know, you get your hopes up and something looks really good and then your hopes are dashed and I become very depressed for a while,” Evans said.
Now, Evans and her husband Jim Lewandowski are doing everything they can to find a donor, including putting up a billboard along South Avenue.
The billboard says “Save My Life! Kidney Donor Needed.” The couple hopes this effort will get Evans the transplant she needs.
“Her best hope is a live donor, an altruistic donor. A live donor gives her a longer… longevity. The life expectancy from a live donor kidney is much longer than from a deceased kidney donor,” Lewandowski said.
There are several phases of the donation process: evaluation, surgery and recovery.
A donor typically spends two days in the hospital and has several weeks of recovery time.
Evans hopes to soon find her kidney donor match.
“It’d be a gift of life actually,” she said.
Evans and Lewandowski plan to put up another stationary billboard in the near future.
As for the cost of the transplant, they say they will pick up the expenses for the donor.
If you are interested in becoming a donor, you can contact Evans by calling 330-727-1949 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.