‘She’s my hero’: Johnstown woman to donate kidney to longtime family friend

Nicki McAdams (right) is donating a kidney to longtime family friend Charlene Tarnowsky during a live-donor transplant operation June 12 at UPMC Presbyterian in Pittsburgh.RANDALL L GRIFFITH
When Nicki McAdams saw her family’s longtime friend, Charlene Tarnowsky, being interviewed on the evening news about the importance of organ donation, she took the message to heart.

“When I saw it, I said, ‘I think I might see if I could be a match,’” McAdams said. “I messaged my parents and then Charlene. They gave me their full support. They knew how much it would mean to her because we are all so close.”

Tests showed that McAdams, 22, was a match for Tarnowsky, 41, and the two are scheduled for the live-donor kidney transplant operation on June 12 at UPMC Presbyterian in Pittsburgh.

“I tried to talk her out of it,” Tarnowsky said. “I told her I could wait. But she insisted on helping me live.”

Tarnowsky is familiar with world of the transplant medicine. The Roxbury woman was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes at age 10 and has had numerous complications from the disease.

In 2007, she received a pancreas and a kidney in a double transplant.

Unfortunately, she also developed a heart condition in 2015, and the heart medicine damaged the donated kidney. Continue reading