Church hosting live donor drive for woman in need of kidney

Published 12:00 am Monday, March 16, 2015

By Jeanie Groh

For years, Salisbury resident Charlene Fero has known that she would eventually need a kidney transplant. Now, at the age of 64, the time has come.

Fero was diagnosed with Polycystic Kidney Disease, a genetic condition that causes kidney failure, at the age of 18.

“It’s something that’s been going on for years,” she said. “I’ve been fine up until the last two years, then my kidneys started failing.

Before her kidneys began to fail, Fero said she was “always doing something.”

She lived a very active lifestyle — and loved traveling, camping and horseback riding.

Now, she’s on dialysis treatments for three hours, three days each week.

But with the treatments, those activities wear her out. On top of that, travel requires her to set up dialysis appointments elsewhere.

“I’m stuck,” she said.

The disease causes tiredness, cramps, sleeplessness and a lot of pain, Fero said.

Fero’s been on the donor list for about a year now.

“That’s not really long,” she said. “The longer it is, the worse it’s going to get and the harder it’s going to be for me to recuperate.”

She added that her situation is complicated because she really needs a live donor. With a deceased donor, the possibility that the kidney won’t work or that her body will reject the organ increases dramatically.

In order to help her find a match, Fero’s church, Franklin Baptist Church is hosting a living donor drive March 28 where interested individuals can pick up a donor packet.

The donor packet is the first step in matching Fero with a potential donor.

Potential donors must have a current physical and cannot be smokers, cancer survivors or have heart problems.

Potential donors fill out their basic health information, and the hospital will determine if the donor is a possible match for Fero, whose blood type is B positive.

“I need a B or an O. It doesn’t matter if they’re positive or negative,” she said.

If a potential donor matches initial criteria, they will undergo more tests. If they are a match, the donor can set the date for the surgery. Fero’s insurance will cover the cost of the procedure.

“You only need the one kidney,” Fero said, adding that an individual’s other kidney compensates for the one that’s gone.

Franklin Baptist Church is located at 3810 U.S. 601 in Salisbury. The live donor drive will be March 28 from 12-6 p.m.

“I have four beautiful grandchildren and I would love to be around for a long time,” Fero said.