Debbie passed away on April 17, 2014. She was warm-hearted, happy, fun-loving, and very caring. She died while waiting for a donor who never came. The world will miss you, Debbie. Rest in peace. Debbie's story remains here in her memory.
My name is Debbie. I’m 54 years old and live in Hacienda Heights, California. My husband, John, and I have been married for 31 years and have a 26-year-old son, Sean. Buddy--a “beabull” (half beagle, half bulldog)--and Bailey, a toy poodle, live with us as well. We're all avid fans of the LA Angels baseball, LA Kings hockey, and the Green Bay Packers.
During my life, I've had many wonderful work experiences, one of which was working in the marketing department of the Anaheim Baseball Club. My most rewarding experience, however, was being the personal assistant to UCLA men's basketball coach, John Wooden Unfortunately, I had to stop working in 2009 due to my health.
At age 21, I was diagnosed with Type I diabetes (a common cause of kidney failure) that had gone undetected for many years . My kidneys started failing about 5 years ago. In 2009, I was evaluated at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) for acceptance into their transplant program. During a routine cardiac exam, doctors discovered that my aortic valve had lost 60% of its functioning. I had heart-valve replacement surgery, felt much better afterwards, and was placed on the kidney transplant waiting list. However, the surgery caused my kidneys to fail even further, and 8 months later, I was forced to go on dialysis. I’ve now been on dialysis for 2 of the 3 years that I’ve been on the transplant waiting list.
When he was 20 years old, my nephew, Mikey, wanted to donate a kidney to me. However, because UCLA requires its donors to be at least 25 years old, he was refused. Sadly, Mikey was killed by a drunk driver earlier this year (2012). Mikey would have loved nothing more than to save his Aunt Debbie’s life in losing his own. But he died instantly, and his kidneys were unable to be donated. His death rocked our family, and needless to say, it has been a very, very sad time for us.
Although I have type O blood, a donor of any blood type can donate to me through UCLA’s Kidney Exchange Program. If you are interested in being tested to see if you are a match, please contact UCLA Health Transplantation Services at 866-672-5333. Tell them that you are calling in reference to Debra Tierney, patient no. 400-7983. You can also reach either of my individual coordinators at the following numbers:
Mishon Surprenant OR Suzanne McGuire
(310) 267-6903 (310) 794-0696
Thank you very much for reading my story and considering living donation.
Our family with Pluto and Goofy at Walt Disney's Animal Kingdom.
My husband, John, and I in Key West, Florida.
My son, Sean and I in Key West. This was one of our best family vacations.