AdventHealth Avista Nurse Donates Kidney to Give Teen Greater Odds at Finding Perfect Match

[Photo: Advent Health]

AdventHealth

AdventHealth Avista Nurse Donates Kidney to Give Teen Greater Odds at Finding Perfect Match

Statistics say there are more than 100,000 patients currently waiting for a transplant.

Health | United States | AdventHealth, with ANN Staff

Caring for others has always been second nature for Carly Decker, a nurse at AdventHealth Avista’s surgery center in Colorado, United States. Decker’s family friend, 15-year-old Asia, suffers from an autoimmune disease that creates antibodies that attack her kidneys and have the potential to attack other organs as well. Asia has gone through many surgeries, including a kidney transplant from a deceased donor which her body unfortunately rejected years ago.  

In hopes of giving her kidney to Asia, Decker began going through testing to see if she could be a match for Asia. Although the results looked promising at first, additional test results showed that Asia’s body would likely reject Decker’s donation.  

Even though she couldn’t give Asia her kidney, she donated her kidney to someone else in need on behalf of Asia, putting Asia at the top of the recipient list when her perfect match became available. Because of Asia’s autoimmune disease, finding a match would be very difficult. "A kidney from a living donor would be life-changing for her," said Decker.

Decker quickly recovered from the surgery and felt completely back to normal.

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"I was pleasantly surprised to learn how safe and straightforward the donation was," said Decker. “Donors and recipients are screened so thoroughly that if there is even one red flag, they won’t move forward pairing the donor and recipient, keeping the safety of both at the forefront.”  

Though the original wish for her kidney to go to Asia fell through, Decker is pleased that her kidney was a perfect match for someone in Pennsylvania. Along with the kidney they received, they were also provided with Decker’s contact information if they wanted to connect with her in the future.

“As a mom of three young boys, I thought what if one of them was in Asia’s shoes in 10 years? If my boys needed something and another person could help, I would do anything for that gift,” said Decker.  

Her message to others from this experience is simple: “Ordinary moms and nurses can make a big difference – you can change people’s lives. If you’re interested in organ donation, I wholeheartedly want to encourage you to learn more about how you can help. Everyone can play a role, whether it’s donating a kidney or just spreading awareness. You might be surprised by how many people in your life have been affected by organ donation.”  

In early January, Asia found out she had been matched with a donor and received her new kidney a week later. Thanks to this amazing gift, Asia and her family are optimistic that she will enjoy her teenage years and live the rest of her life to the fullest. 

AdventHealth observes National Donate Life Month every April to help spread awareness and education about organ, eye, and tissue donation. It is also a time to celebrate those who have selflessly donated to change or save the lives of others. Statistics say there are more than 100,000 patients currently waiting for a transplant. In addition, one donor can impact up to 85 lives; 75 lives from tissue donation, eight lives from solid organ and two lives from cornea donation.  

The original article was published on the Mid-America Union news site, Outlook Magazine.