Manning mayor gets Christmas wish, receives new kidney in transp - - Columbia, South Carolina

Manning mayor gets Christmas wish, receives new kidney in transplant program

CHARLESTON, SC (WIS) - Last December, Manning Mayor Julia Nelson's only Christmas wish was a new kidney.

After almost a year of waiting and a public plea for as life-saving transplant, Nelson got a new kidney last week from a living donor across the country.

“It's just remarkable that a human being that's living and walking around can actually give life,” Nelson said, “a great quality of life to someone else.”

Although she had a lot of support from her family and town, there were times over the last year when she thought it might not happen.

“There were some nights I didn't think I was going to wake up the next morning,” Nelson said.

Then, Arlene McCloud of Sumter came forward as a possible match.

“Everything matched except the antibodies,” Nelson said.

However, McCloud was a good match for a man in Indiana. His daughter was a match for Mayor Nelson.

"She's a 35-36 year old female,” Sara Parker of The Medical University of South Carolina said. “She was in a pair with her father and so we had an even swap with the two centers. We sent a kidney to them and they sent a kidney to us."

The cross-country living donor program allows more possible matches and transplants because of the nationwide donor pool.

"It's a way to help someone else and see the fruits of your labor. I've never had a donor come away regretful. They've always been ecstatic and happy they've been able to help someone."

Dr. Titte Srinvias, the kidney transportation medical director at MUSC, calls this exchange a total “game-changer” for transplants. He is part of a strong team that evaluates and monitors the donors, recipients and tries to make every transplant a success.

“What's really remarkable is the kidneys travel well on ice and function almost immediately," Dr. Srinivas said.

It's been less than a week since Mayor Nelson's transplant.

“For me already,” Nelson said, “I can feel a difference in energy.”

"The living donor cross-country exchange program is relatively new. MUSC has been involved for about the last two years. Doctors say living donation can be a wonderful gift and, if there were more donors, that could significantly cut down on the national waiting list.

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