NEWBERRY, SC (WIS) - At seventeen years old, most young girls are getting ready for school, having sleepovers with friends, and learning lessons about life. For one Newberry woman, she started the fight for her life.
KyNia Jessie was diagnosed with renal failure in high school.
“I was throwing up, constantly throwing up, couldn’t keep food down, so I went to the hospital and they ran tests and that’s when they (told me I) actually had kidney failure,” Jessie said.
Six years later, the fight continues. Connecting tubes to her stomach became a life necessity.
For seven days a week, nine hours a day, she is hooked up to a machine for home dialysis treatment.
“It’s hard sometimes. Someday’s are better than others,” Jessie said.
Home dialysis is a crucial part of her life.
“If I wanted to party I couldn’t. I have to be hooked up to the machine before midnight,” Jessie said. “ I wanted to go off to college but this is what’s stopping me.”
While her dream after graduating high school was to enlist in the Army, that dream was replaced by a new dream. For a living organ donor that could save her life.
“We have kidney disease that runs in the family and if one of my family was to give me a kidney, they may end up having kidney failure too,” Jessie said.
Along with kidney disease running in Jessie’s family, they also do not have the same blood type.
Jessie has been on the MUSC transplant list for six years. She is hopeful for an O+ living donor to come forward.
“I cry but you know I pray too. Sometimes I hope that someday I get a transplant and I won’t go through it anymore,” Jessie said.
According to the MUSC health website, there are more than 90,000 people on the national waiting list for a kidney transplant, and they will be waiting an average of three to five years.
The number of kidneys available from deceased donors isn’t enough to meet this demand, and thousands of people die each year waiting for an organ to become available.
Another option is through a living donor.
According to MUSC, living donation is the process by which a living donor chooses to have a surgeon remove one of their kidneys and transplant it into a waiting recipient. Living donor kidneys are usually much higher quality than kidneys from deceased donors.
If you’re interested in learning more or beginning the process of organ donation, please contact MUSC Health’s Living Donor Program.
In the meantime, Jessie’s friends and family put together a raffle donation to help with medical costs for if and when that transplant will take place. You can click here for more information.