Templeton woman donates kidney to sister-in-law


TEMPLETON Officially April is Child Abuse Prevention month by proclamation at the federal level, but the nonprofit Donate Life America has partnered with a range of organizations since 2003 to promote the unofficial designation National Donate Life Month, or Organ Donation Month.

They’d like to encourage Americans to register as organ, eye and tissue donors with a range of awareness events this month, but for many, the most attractive recruiting pitch, aside from true altruism, is the chance to help a loved one.

The most common organ donation for living donors is to give a kidney. Most people have two but can function without noticeable diminishment with one. For those suffering renal failure, dialysis, removing toxins from the blood physically, is a last lifeline while waiting and hoping for a match. That is if they live in an area with suitable infrastructure.

In Templeton, many folks may be aware that a local figure, Abby Allen, recently donated her kidney to her sister-in-law, a San Luis Obispo resident.

Allen is back at work managing Templeton Market after going through the procedure in January, and said her only ill effects were temporary fatigue while her body adjusted.

“I happen to be a universal donor, so we were a match,” Allen said, adding she’s been donating her Type-O blood for decades, but that many people who make the choice to become a living donor join a kind of swap or pool arrangement with agencies matching relatives and friends of those in need.

Allen took the tests and went through the donor program at UCLA Medical Center, where a team was assigned to her as the donor and her sister-in-law as the recipient.

The teams act as an advocate for each patient independently, she explained, adding that if there had been any reason not to go forward it wouldn’t have happened.

As it turned out, the procedure’s success helped free both Allen’s brother and his wife from the 10 hours a day of home dialysis she’d been enduring.

“It hasn’t limited my lifestyle at all,” Allen said. “I only found out through my experience of her needing a kidney how great the need is and how easy it is to do.”

The procedure should be more common she said, “because you can be perfectly healthy while saving people’s lives.”

In case people worry that their own health would be it at risk with one remaining kidney she added, she was told donors go to the top of the recipient list themselves should they experience renal failure later in life.

Right now both patients are taking good care of Allen’s functioning kidneys, an aspect of health she adds is often ignored. A range of medications and practices people think nothing of on a daily basis can impact the system in unwelcome ways.

“There’s no talking people into it. Health is a very personal thing,” Allen said noting that, “we’re supporting each other to stay healthy now.”

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