GOOD NEWS! After many touch-and-go episodes and not knowing whether her body would hold out long enough to survive, Venis finaly had a kidney transplant on May 27, 2013. Here's her update, written June 8, 2013: "I am home recovering now with two appointments to go at the transplant center before the month is up and have another surgery scheduled there as well on the 27th. I am doing well--in some pain and having some side effects of the anti-rejection meds, but the kidney is doing fine. The things they can do now are so amazing!" CONGRATULATIONS, VENIS!
My Names is Venis Gibby. I am a 39-year-old mother from Duluth, Minnesota. I have three living children--a teenager and two young adults and am also raising a teenage nephew. Last summer, I lost my son Zachary at age 17. As you can imagine, it’s been a difficult year. Aubrey, my 1-year-old granddaughter, is a bright spot in my life, and I’m eagerly awaiting the birth of her brother in July.
My most recent employment was working in human resources and being a foster parent. The company for whom I worked was sold. Unfortunately, I lost my job, so I’m currently seeking employment. In between job searching and raising children, I enjoy playing with my grandaughter, listening to country music, and taking walks.
I have a rare kidney disease called Henoch Schönlein Purpura. It causes inflammation in the smallest blood vessels of the body and can affect the joints, kidneys, digestive system and, in rare cases, the brain and spinal cord. In my case, it has caused kidney failure. I had a kidney transplant in 2000, but the kidney failed after about 8 years. I’ve been on dialysis ever since.
Unfortunately, dialysis has been complicated by the fact that my blood vessels are very fragile and can no longer stand up to the pressure that dialysis needles and tubes exert on them. I’ve had numerous surgeries to try to create a suitable access for dialysis, but each one has failed. I’m currently on my last option; if this one also fails, there are no other possibilities.
I’ve been on the list to receive a deceased-donor kidney for about 4 years. My son Zack had hoped to be tested to see if he could donate to me when he turned 18. He was just 6 weeks shy of his 18th birthday when he died unexpectedly. Unfortunately, none of my other family members are eligible to donate.
I would like more than anything to see my remaining children and grandchildren grow up. However, because the average lifespan of a person on dialysis is only 5 years and I am on my last dialysis option, that likely will be impossible without a kidney transplant.
My local TV station did a news report on me, which you can view below if you like, and the newspaper did a story that you can read on the page that follows this one.
I can receive a kidney from anyone with Type A or Type O blood, but because my hospital participates in paired donation, it is possible for anyone of any blood type to donate.
My transplant will take place at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis, but you do not have to be a resident of Minnesota to donate. All medical expenses are paid by my insurance, and expenses such as transportation, lodging, meals, and car rental can be covered for someone who does not live nearby.
If you would like to be tested to see if you could be a match for me, please call my donor coordinator, Alaina Gluomac, at 1-800-328-5465, option 5, then 1, then 7. Or, you may call the hospital at 1-800-328-5465, option 1, and say that you would like to be tested to see if you are a match for Venis Gibby. If you like, you may also get in touch with me personally at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I appreciate your taking the time to read my story and considering being a living donor. If you are unable to donate but would like to help, please pass my story on to others. Thank you so very much.
(Click here to read the news article.)
This is a news story that a Duluth, Minnesota news station reported earlier this year.
This was taken at a friend's wedding in 2012.
This is me at my daughter Roni's bedside as we awaits the birth of my first grandchild.
And there she is...my sweet little Aubrey. I pray I can live long enough for us to get to know each other.
Angel, whom I got about a year after I started dialysis, is my constant companion.