Woman gives her sick mom her kidney

This Mother’s Day, the tables are turning, a daughter from eudora is giving her mom the gift of life.
The University of Kansas Health Center met with the Kansas family, and followed their journey as they underwent a kidney transplant surgery.

Debbie Harker from Ottawa, KS, was diagnosed with Stage 3 kidney disease about five years ago.  But after also battling celiac disease, her kidney disease took a turn for the worst, progressing into Stage 5 at the end of last year. 

“They told me that we were going to have to do something very quickly. They were discussing dialysis, but when I got sick in December and ended up in the hospital, all of my numbers ended up changing again. They said my kidney function at the point was at 5 percent,” Harker explains.  

Haker needed a kidney transplant, but her time was limited. That is until her daughter Casey stepped in.

“I honestly thought there was no other option. When the doctor told us she needed a kidney and the waiting list was three years, and she didn’t have three years, I volunteered right then and there. She means everything to me,” says Casey Flory, Debbie’s daughter.  

Casey received the news that she was a match and would qualify for the surgery.

Dr. Sean Kumer, a Transplant Surgeon at The University of Kansas Health Center in Kansas City, explains the process of qualifying to donate, “there are a lot of hurdles along the way. It takes a lot of time. Usually it takes a couple of months or even longer if the recipient isn’t ready for the transplant to occur. 

With a living organ donation, Casey is giving her mom a healthy future and more time together. 

“A living donation for kidneys, provides a situation where that kidney (compared to the average deceased donor kidney) will last 3-5 years longer than the deceased donor kidney,” Dr. Kumer explains.

Debbie and Casey’s surgery was on April 23, 2019.

“I tell the donors that this is going to hurt. You’re giving them the ultimate gift,” says Dr. Kumer. 

“I am feeling really good. I know this is something they do every time. It’s not an emergency surgery. This is what they do everyday,” says Darren Flory, Casey’s husband on the day of the surgery.

To Casey, Debbie says, “I am very grateful for you. I am very proud of you. This is going to be good. It’s going to be a good process!” 

Debbie and Casey are now home and recovering well, with an even more special reason to celebrate Mother’s Day this year.

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