Pam Silvestri donated her kidney to Jennifer Cox Friday Morning
When Pam Silvestri met Jennifer Cox at the Southwest Transplant Alliance in Dallas, she says, “I felt like I had found the mother I never had.” The two women crossed paths in 1995, after Jennifer had undergone a kidney transplant.
At the time, Jennifer was hoping Pam could arrange a meeting with her donor’s family. As the Public Affairs director, Pam made the meeting happen. Eventually, Pam hired Jennifer to educate and inform the minority communities about organ donations.
Jennifer says, “I love Pam. When I first met her, we just connected. I have shared information with her that I have not shared with others.” Jennifer had no idea that the bond they shared would be the strength she would eventually need.
In 2008, doctors discovered Jennifer’s transplanted kidney was failing. In 2009, she was told she needed another kidney transplant. Friday, Jennifer will get another kidney transplant. This time she will know her donor — it will be Pam.
Pam made the decision to donate one of her kidneys six months ago. She says it was an easy decision “Jennifer has taught me about unconditional love ... If it wasn’t for Jennifer, I wouldn’t have the relationship I now have with my father and my sister.”
The women are opposites in many ways. Pam is white and Jennifer is black. Pam is 46 years old and Jennifer is 57. Pam is single and Jennifer is married with children and grandchildren. But what they have in common is a deep love for each other, a passion for life, and a desire to help those in need.
Jennifer believes Pam has been a lifesaver in many ways. In July, when Pam had decided to donate her kidney; Jennifer couldn’t think of her own health. Her 24-year-old daughter, Tiffany, who lived with Lupus most of her life had become very ill.
Two days after Pam told Tiffany she was giving her mother one of her kidneys, Tiffany passed away. Pam says, “the Lupus had apparently run her whole body down over time and her heart ultimately gave out.”
A grief-stricken Jennifer leaned on Pam, her family, and her faith to get through her emotional pain. She says, “The pain of health problems cannot compare to the pain of losing Tiffany. I have had to ask God to strengthen me, and to help me move ahead, and he has done that.”
Pam admits she tried two times before to donate one of her kidneys, once to a friend and even to Jennifer’s daughter, Tiffany, but for one reason or another it didn’t work out.
Pam says, “I already knew and I think Jennifer did too, that this kidney was always meant for her, and that’s why the other donations didn’t work out.”
For years, Pam’s job at the Southwest Transplant Alliance has been a front seat to the magic created when someone receives the ultimate gift of an organ donation. She says, “I’ve seen how well they do and what a positive impact it’s made in their lives.”
The kidney transplant will happen Friday morning at Methodist Hospital in Dallas. Pam’s family has been very supportive of her decision and Jennifer’s family is thrilled that she has the chance to live a healthy life again.