The purpose of this page is to support Chelle and Amanda in their upcoming kidney transplant on January 25, 2019. All donations will be used for any outstanding medical expenses, household expenses, lost wages and any financial need as a result of their surgery for both Chelle and Amanda. Read Chelle's story followed by Amanda's below.
"I was diagnosed with PKD in 2004, when I was 36 years old, a single parent with two girls, 5 and 14 years old. I have been on the UNOS waiting list since September 2010, nearly 8 years..I tried to sustain my kidney function for 6 years before being put on dialysis by taking the medication that was prescribed by my nephrologist. I tried to stay active to keep my transplant weight goal where it should be. I stopped working two jobs in 2008. I am currently on a strict liquid and low sodium diet. I only drink clear liquids and I cook my own food. I have stopped eating fast food and read the label on all the food I buy to check for preservatives, phosphorus and sodium before I buy it for my home. I make my own lunch daily for work and cook my dinner every night. Even my daughter has stopped eating at fast food restaurants, but she still has her three favorites.
I tried my hardest to stay healthy and keep my monthly labs up within range and talk with my dietician each month about what I need to do to improve my diet. This year my labs are balanced out and my weight is at goal. I am healthier than I have ever been. It is critical that I stay healthy to receive a new kidney. I try hard to stay ready and keep all of my medical information updated. I just want to be strong and ready for transplant. I pray to the Lord to prepare my body to receive a new kidney. I put my trust in the Lord
I became a Peritoneal Dialysis patient in October of 2013. I have been a PD patient for 5 years. I have endured 7 surgeries since then and the Lord has carried me every step of the way. I was on hemodialysis back in October 2016 for the first time after my nephrectomy, removal of my native kidneys. My kidneys were so enlarged and they were no longer functioning the Piedmont Transplant team decided it was time to remove them. My Mom stayed with me and Caya while I recovered for about 3 months. I thought being on dialysis was going to be temporary since my nephew was in the process of being tested as a donor for me. We were all hoping and praying that he would be the one. 2013 had been a hard year for my family, we had lost so many loved ones that year, my cousin in March, my uncle in April and my Grandmother(my Mom's mother) in July. But the last one hurt us all the most.My nephew left church on Sunday, October 27th to go see a friend on his motorcycle. As he traveled down the 4 lane highway a lady in her car decided to change from turning left to turning right and swerved into the lane my nephew was in and he crashed into the passenger side of her car. The ambulance and police were called and my nephew was life flighted to a hospital in Nashville, it took my sister and niece 1 hour and 30 minutes to get to him. He sustained internal injuries from the accident that were so severe he died 30 minutes before my sister, his Mom and my niece, his sister arrived at the hospital. He was 26 years old and left behind 2 children. They were not able to harvest any of his organs because they were damaged. This hurt my family dearly, it was unexpected, he was so young and the two children he was raising just lost their Dad. It was too much for our family to bear. We asked the Lord for strength and peace.
The news of going on dialysis affected me and my children tremendously. They thought of it as a sign that they might lose their Mom. It was very stressful on my entire family especially my youngest daughter, Caya, who was 14 years old and she had just started high school. She became a little depressed because I had to depend on her so much as a caregiver and she was entering her first year of high school didn’t make it any easier. After taking her and my Mom to the PD training and education class, we all felt better about how it worked. I took my oldest daughter, Courtney, 23 yrs old, to the Emory Transplant Education classes so she could understand the process and how it works with finding a kidney donor. I wanted my kids to feel comfortable with the procedures with dialysis that I was about to endure and the process of transplant. Now that they are more educated on the process, I think that they are not as stressed out as before. It made me feel better once I was educated; because I use to cry ever time anyone mentioned it to me. I even had a breakdown in the doctor’s office because I was so overwhelmed. PD changed my life, my daily routine required me to be in bed by 9pm so that my therapy was completed and I could be up in time to take Caya to school. My therapy was 7 days a week 9 hours hooked to a machine but I was able do this while I was sleeping. Once I was able to return to work and attend Caya's afterschool events meant a lot to both of us. Being able to provide for my children and support them when needed is a blessing.
My illness was not easy to handle and then my oldest, Courtney wanted to see if she was a match. However, when she went to get tested we ended up finding out that I had passed the PKD disease on to her. Now everything I go through I feel like she thinks that is what she will face in the future. It is in its early stage and the doctors are monitoring her and I am praying that they will have a medicine to cure PKD soon. I know they have come close so I continue to pray. She has the same blood type as her Dad and I would like for them to discuss a kidney transplant between them after she decides to have some children. After having her children she can focus on a transplant and a new beginning with a new kidney.
A transplant would change my life. I will be able to live the life that God has destined for me in the body that he designed. My oldest daughter, Courtney, will be assured that a transplant can restore my life and it will be able to restore her life as well when the time comes. My children still need their Mom and I want to be around to help them as much as I can. A transplant will allow me to travel with my family and not feel like I am a burden because we have to cut activities short so I can get on my machine. Also, I don’t want my family to think that the only times we can come together is when I am having surgery.
A transplant is going to shed a new light on the rest of my future. I only have one shot and I intend on giving it my all to keep my kidney healthy and take my medicines like I am supposed to and follow up with my physicians regularly. I pray every night for God to bless me with a second chance at life. To finally have that last surgery to have a transplant would be a grateful moment to get my life back the way God intended. I will be so grateful to my kidney donor, they would be part of my family because I would continue to thank them for saving my life.
In 2015, I started creating fliers about my story and sending them to friends, family and co-workers to post in their breakroom, gyms, churches and local stores. These fliers included my story and the information on how to contact my coordinator at Piedmont Hospital to see if you are a match. My daughters had placed them at Gwinnett Technical College and Atlanta Choong Sil Kwon Taekwondo. I pray every night that the Lord prepare me for a kidney transplant and send me a donor. Since May of 2018 I felt like the Lord was preparing me for something, He spoke to me to get my household, finances, health and family in order. He kept telling me that in the Spring of 2019, I needed to focus on my health. I followed His directions and on Thanksgiving a prayer came to me and I put it in my phone, it was the prayer that I would pray with my family on Dec. 22 for our Christmas gathering. Part of the prayer said, "For over 2 months you have promised me a blessing with my name on it and I thank you for taking the time to find a special donor just for me. I am truly grateful. Continue Lord to cover me and my donor under your wings during our transplant. Touch us with your healing hands so we may have a speedy recovery." He then instructed me to Be Still and Be Quiet that all would be revealed.
On Dec 12th, my daughter, Courtney brought this beautiful altrustic person to my house. She introduced herself as Amanda and began to tell me how she saw my flier at the taekwondo gym. She said that God had told her that this was something she needed to do for me. I broke down into tears as she told me that everything had been finalized at Piedmont Hospital and she was my kidney donor. The Lord had been taking me through this process getting me prepared for this moment. This was the best gift that anyone could get for Christmas, the chance at a second life. The Lord has blessed me with this miraculous gift and I am truly grateful. Amanda will be my sister for life and her family will be part of my family forever. On January 25th, we will have our kidney transplant at Piedmont Hospital Atlanta, this moment is so amazing. I am so grateful, thankful and overwhelmed with joy that I cry every time I tell my story. But Jesus loves tears and I will continue to let them flow. Amanda, I love you and I am so grateful that the Lord chose you to be in my life forever. I know that along the way we will be able to save another life. God is going to use our story to touch other people. This is amazing. Love you so much.
"On September 22, at the women's prayer gathering at 12 Stone Church, my prayer that morning was 'Help me to love you God with all my heart, mind and soul. To truly live out your greatest commandment- to love others as myself.' That same day, I was at my 8 year old son's taekwando studio where he was testing for his black belt. As my newborn started to get fussy, I walked to the side of the room to console him. That's when I saw Vonchelle's flier. I read how she was a single mother on the kidney waitlist for 8 years due to PKD. During that time, she had both of her kidneys removed. As I continued to read, I started to feel shaky and my heart began to race.. I had an overwhelming feeling to donate her my kidney. I have felt god promptings before in my life but nothing like this. This almost knocked me off my feet. I knew as I was reading that we were going to be a match. As I got to the bottom of the flier, I read that she was O+. Of course, that was my blood type.
On the way home, I mentioned the flier to my husband. I remember him turning to look at me and saying, "Amanda, are you seriously thinking about giving this woman your kidney?!" Yes, it's not every day you wake up and want to give a stranger your kidney. It probably did sound crazy. But isn't that how we are called to love one another? Not just our friends and family.. that's easy. But everyone. To love our neighbors as ourselves. The command we have from Christ is blunt. Loving God includes loving people. You've got to love both.
The next few months were filled with scans, urine samples, blood work, medical examinations, psychological evals and did I mention urine samples? A cross match was done where they mixed our blood together to see if her body would build up any antibodies toward mine. The results showed none. This meant that we were a really great match and that her body would likely not attack my kidney. On December 12, I got the call from Piedmont Hospital. The transplant team had reached their final decision... I was approved to donate. The surgery date was scheduled for January 25.
That same day I was able to meet Vonchelle. Through this process, I found out her daughter, Courtney worked at my son's taekwando studio. I met Courtney and had her take me to her mom that night. It was the most special moment of my entire life. I was so humbled and thankful God chose me to save Chelle's life. Since then, we have talked almost every single day. We spent Christmas together where our families were able to meet. I love her so much. She is the most faithful woman I have ever met. She knew this was her year to receive a kidney and had already written out a Christmas prayer to God thanking him for a donor (before she even knew about me).
I can’t wait to do this for her. I think more people should consider living kidney donation. There is no need for 100,000 people to be waiting on a kidney when we were all born with the gift to change someone’s life. Am I scared? Yes, I am scared. This is a major surgery. However, the chances of something happening are less than the risks of someone getting a c-section. So for me.. why wouldn’t I do this to save someone’s life? Technology has come so far and I will be out of the hospital in less than 2 days and back to work in around 3 weeks. January 25 will be the day Vonchelle gets her life back and her long wait of 8 years on the transplant wait list will be over."
Agree with God to GO and DO. Live sent. If our faith is genuine, it will produce action. "