Patrick Moody, Henry Mayo Newhall Hospital
Terri Miller, an anatomic pathology lab assistant at Henry Mayo Newhall Hospital, saw a story on a local Facebook page about a widowed mother who was suffering from polycystic kidney disease (PKD) and in desperate need of a life-saving kidney transplant.
The 47-year-old mother on the radio was Nathalie De.
She was diagnosed with PKD 11 years ago, when she tried to become a donor for her father who, sadly, later succumbed to the disease.
PKD is an inherited disorder which causes kidneys to develop clusters of cysts, leading to kidney failure.
According to the National Kidney Foundation, 600,000 people have PKD — many of whom are hoping and praying for kidney donors.
De has been on dialysis for the past two years, since the failure of both her kidneys, and struggles with the debilitating effects of the disease and its treatment, all the while trying to raise four sons on her own.
After seeing De’s story, Miller felt an immediate need to help and called the radio station to find out how she could get in touch with her.
“Helping another human being just felt like the right thing to do,” said Miller. “It’s an honor and privilege to be able to help De and her family.”
Miller had to undergo a series of tests to determine if her kidney would be a match for De. Within two months, it was determined that Miller was a compatible organ donor.
De is overwhelmed with gratitude and appreciation for Miller’s selfless act. At a recent press conference, De said to Miller, “Thank you, from the bottom of my heart, for what you are doing here.”
The transplant surgery will take place early in August.
De and Miller, who were initially complete strangers, now consider themselves to be family and were surprised to learn that they live within miles of each other.
They hope that their story will bring awareness to the need for more organ donation.
“If I inspire even one person to consider being an organ donor, I would be so happy,” said Miller. “You can be a living donor. I will be able to live the rest of my life healthy and perfectly normal, and now Nathalie will, too!”
Patrick Moody is director of marketing and public relations at Henry Mayo Newhall Hospital. For more information about the hospital, visit HenryMayo.com.