Woman donates kidney to save mom
The diagnosis of a critical illness can be one of life's scariest moments. Waiting for the future to be determined by a stranger's random act of kindness can be excruciating.
That's the situation 72-year-old Thelma Stark of North Platte found herself in after she was diagnosed with kidney disease. She has been undergoing dialysis twice a day every day for almost a year, and doctors have said that as the disease progresses the treatments will become more frequent.
Luckily for Stark, her wait for help has been short. Her daughter, Terry Mustion, has offered to give her a kidney.
According to Mustion, Stark was diagnosed with kidney disease in 2006 following a biopsy. Last year, doctors discovered that she had diabetes and would need a kidney transplant. Although she was hesitant at first, Stark's family finally talked her into the procedure, and she was put on a national donor list.
"Even if you're on the list, sometimes it takes 10 years or more to find a suitable donor," said Mustion. "The doctors said her body would have a better chance of accepting the kidney if it came from a family member. I got tested and found out that the match was beyond perfect. I agreed immediately - it was never a question."
Mustion said the kidney disease is believed to have caused the diabetes, which doctors are confident will go away following the transplant. Surgery is scheduled for both mother and daughter Sept. 21 at the University of Nebraska Medical Center in Omaha. Mustion's surgery will begin at 7:30 a.m. and could take five to six hours. Stark's surgery will begin immediately afterward.
Mustion's health is not expected to suffer as a result of the transplant. She will remain hospitalized until Sept. 24, and recovery is expected to take a couple of months.
Stark's release could take longer, depending on how her body reacts to the new organ.
"It has to start producing urine before she can leave the hospital," said Mustion. "The whole thing's scary, but I think my mom's really excited to be healthy again. For 72, she's very agile and outgoing. Her traveling has been limited up to this point. She's ready to have her life back, and the rest of the family is ready for her to have that too."
Mustion is a single mom of three daughters, ages 16, 13 and 12.
"I know they're really nervous, but they're also excited that I'm doing this for their grandmother," said Mustion. "They love her so much."
An account has been set up to help the family with everyday expenses while Mustion recovers from the surgery. Donations can be made to the Terry Mustion fund at Centris Federal Credit Union.
There will also be a benefit spaghetti dinner at the VFW Club Oct. 17 at 5:30 p.m. at a cost of $5 per person, and Mustion's boyfriend, Chris Beckius, has organized a raffle with items such as Applebee's gift certificates, memberships to Platte Valley Gymnastics or KT Tumblers and a Husker blanket.
The grand prize will be half of the ticket sale proceeds. Donations are still being accepted. To submit a raffle item, or to purchase tickets, contact Beckius at 530-7988 or Mustion at 530-8388.