Since I started writing seriously in August, 2006, I now have about 250 articles in my portfolio. And, about 20 of them, I have quoted directly from a newspaper or magazine article, because I thought the topic was important enough, to spread the word around. The topics in the past have been on homelessness; medical; aging; teenagers; quitting smoking; losing weight and so forth. That's what I'm doing with this article, because I think the topic and the story is so important and inspiring to everyone.
A large photo on the Front Page of the newspaper, and the caption above the photo reads; 'Woman Donates Kidney To Stranger'
The article was written by a staff writer on the Albuquerque Journal named James Monteleone, and the piece was published in the Albuquerque Journal on May 19, 2011. The article is entitled;
'The Ultimate Share'
and the sub-title reads;
'Set on Passing on Her Organs, Raton
Woman Gets Early Start'
"It didn't take Debbie Sparks much thought before offering her kidney to a stranger. The Raton woman always wanted to be an organ donor.
After seeing a friend die in 1985 while waiting for a heart transplant, Sparke, 58, was so insistent on sharing her organs that she tattooed 'donor' on her chest so medical teams wouldn't miss her wish in case of an accident or trauma.
She got her opportunity last August when she met Polly Azar, 52, of Albuquerque. The two were among a group of people eating together at an Albuquerque restaurant in August. Azar's cousin happened to be a friend of Sparke's.
Sparke overheard Azar talking about her wait for a kidney transplant and immedictely raised the idea of becoming a donor. 'I'm thinking her quality of life right now really sucks,' Sparke said. 'I want her to live long enough and be healthy enough to...become a greadmother. the only way she's going to have a better lifestyle is with a kidney.'
Sparke confirmed that her blood type matched Azar's, researched the procedure and volunteered to give her kidney to the woman she had met just days earlier. After months on medical testing to confirm a safe match, doctors at Presbyterian Hospital todayh will remove one of Sparke's kidneys and place it into Azar's body.
'It's just totally humbled me. I just can't believe it,' Azar said Wednesday at her home, where the two women were staying. Azar, a retired Albuquerque school administrator had friends offer to donate a kidney, but it never panned out. Sparke, however, was persistent.
Azar recalled trying to talk Sparke out of it. 'I would have never come right out and asked. Giving up a kidney, or any part is just an amazing thing, i just don't expect people to do that,' Azar said.
A genetic medical condition has made Azar's kidney dysfunctional. Without proper kidney function, Azar was receiving overnight dialysis treatments three nights a week. That meant limited travel and greatly restricted diet. Azar had been on the state transplant list for about a year after losing more that 80 pounds to qualify.
In New Mexico, 465 others are also waiting for kidneys...more than those on lists for other organs. Nationally, more that 110,000 await life-saving transplants, and 19 people die daily because they did not receive a needed organ on time, according to the New Mexico Donor Services.
Sparke, a former U.S. Post Office director who relocated to New Mexico from Kansas in 2009, said she's thrilled to have the opportunity to help a woman she now counts as a close friend.
'I'm also achieving a goal and a dream, because who knows when I die, if there will be anything usable,' said Sparke, who had to lose 30 pounds before she could qualify as a healthy donor. 'Here now, I'm actually able to donate and help somebody.'
Sparke expects she will be released from the hospital by Sunday and fully recovered within about two weeks. Azar expects to be in intensive care for up to a week after the operation, with another six weeks of recovery afterward.
The women plan to share some of that recovery time together at Azar's home in Albuquerque, with the support of family and friends. Azar's 18 year old son, Adam, said he was skeptical when he first heard a stranger had offered his mom a kidney. The day before the operation, he said he feels grateful.
'I thought it was empty,' he said of Sparke's initial offer. 'People don't normally do that...it's just really great for my mom. I'm really happy about it.'
Once strangers, the women say there's much they have in connon and they look forward to a long friendship. Thay have planned to stay close despite living in different areas of the state. they hope to take a vacation together every year on May 19, to celebrate the date of the operation.
'I feel like family,' Sparke said of her relationship with Azar. 'Sometimes I have to stop and think, I've known this woman for less than six months.'"
END OF ARTICLE; A few days later, there was a follow-up article on the subject. This piece was written after the surgery was performed, which was entitled;
'From Stranger to Friend to Living Organ Donor;' And, the sub-title; 'New Kidney Brings Patient's Color Back" Again, the staff writer (James Monteleone) for the Albuquerque Journal wrote the piece which is as follows;
"Debbie Sparks has no regrets about successfully donating a kidney to a stranger she met less than a year ago. In fact, she wishes she could do it all again.
Last week, Sparke, 58, completed the organ donation process to give a kidney to her new friend, Polly Azar, 52. After surgery last Thursday (May 19. 2011) at Presbyterian Hospital went well, the women are recovering together at Azar's home in Albuquerque.
Sparke had hoped to donate an organ to someone in need after seeing a friend die while waiting for a heart transplant in 1985. The Raton woman got her opportunity after over-hearing Azar...a stranger at the time...tell a mutual friend about her kidney condition last August.
Since then, the two women have become close friends. For Sparke, seeing her kidney make Azar healthier was as rewarding as she had hoped. "I've kind of achieved a life dream, and seen the results of it," Sparke said. "Just seeing her in the hospital starting to turn pink instead of her dark grayish color...wow...my kidney did that. That was just awesome. For Azar, the gray skin tone was a side effect of dysfunctional kidneys caused by genetic condition. Azar said she felt healthier almost immediately after the transplant. Doctors have since noted how well Sparke's kidney matched Azar's body.
Both women are expecting recovery from the operation will take another six weeks. "I'm totally relieved now because it's over, and I'm feeling pretty good," Azar said. Before the operation, Azar was receiving overnight dialysis treatments three nights a week. That meant limited travel and a greatly restricted diet.
Thanks to the new kidney, Azar is done with dialysis and can safely eat almost anything. However, Azar will have to take anti-rejection medication for the rest of her life. Both women will have to undergo routine blood tests to ensure their single kidneys are operating well.
Now, they plan to work together to advocate for organ donation in an attempt to help someone else. 'It's been a remarkable experience. If I could do it again, I would in a heart-beat,' Sparke said."
END OF ARTICLE; POSTED MAY 27, 2011
I signed up to be an organ donar several years ago, and I wrote the following article on the subject;
Gift of Life: Become an Organ Donor
For more information about organ transplants, go to the New Mexico Donar Services website at www.donatelifenm.org
For those of you in other states, contact your nearest Motor Vehicle Division to get more inforamtion.
SITE MAP For Hopelessly Lost Souls;
Copyright; 2011; Jerry Aragon; The Humor Doctor
Website name; humordoctormd