Pembroke woman with kidney disease waiting and hoping for transplant

Patriot Ledger | Jordan Tillery

Pembroke resident Coleen Hirsch with her daughter, Amanda, and dog, Brady. Hirsch, 56, has a kidney disease and is on a transplant waiting list. Amanda is expecting her first child. The photo was taken on Saturday, Aug. 29, 2015.

PEMBROKE – Coleen Hirsch of Pembroke will be soon be attached to a dialysis machine for eight to 10 hours every night. A catheter inserted into her abdomen will flush her system with a dialysis solution to remove waste, mimicking the functioning of healthy kidneys.

Hirsch, 56, has Alport syndrome, a genetic disease that causes progressive kidney damage. The National Kidney Foundation says the disease causes scar tissue to replace healthy kidney tissue.

Hirsch is one of more than 100,000 Americans in need of a kidney transplant, and she is talking about her illness to bring attention to the need for kidney donors.

Nationwide, there are fewer than 5,500 kidneys available, according to data from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network.

In Massachusetts, 2,222 people – eight of them with Alport syndrome – were on the waiting list to receive a kidney as of Aug. 1. There were only 208 donors for Massachusetts patients. Continue reading