Hi- My name is Karen Thomas. I work as a Deputy Clerk at the Laurel Co. Circuit Clerks Office in London, KY. I am a living organ donor. On January 17, 2019 I donated my left kidney to my wonderful mother. My Mom had fought kidney failure for several years and put up an excellent fight until last year. Off the cuff, I had always said 'I guess I'll just have to give you a kidney some day'. Her kidney function had dropped to 13%. She was preparing for dialysis. I told her "I guess it's time I give you a kidney". Mom always put me first before herself. She wasn't real sure if she wanted her 'baby' (52 year old baby) to give up one of her kidneys. To me it was just a matter of fact. It was time. By the way, my Mom is 70 years old. She visited the University of Kentucky Transplant Center to be put on the list for a donor. Mom had to research other living donors and found it just might be OK. In mid August UK started our compatibility testing and by late November we found out we were an excellent match. Such a good match, in-fact, Mom could be on the lower dose of anti rejections meds. Everything went so easy and UK Transplant Center has some really awesome caregivers working for them. From our nurse-coordinators, lab persons, the surgeons and hospital staff were all super! Our surgeries were January 17th at UK and everything went so well. I was back at work by February 6th. My co-worker Deputy Clerks were all so awesome to help me with any lifting or bending for a few weeks after my return. God was in control of all this from the start and still is. My Mom is doing awesome. Her kidney function is just a tad better than mine but both are well within the healthy normal. She says she got the best kidney. I know her quality of life has already improved. We are so thankful and blessed. I have always supported organ donation, I donated my dollar and always said 'yes' to be placed on the registry when renewing my license, but now I have a whole new appreciation for the Circuit Clerk's Trust for Life.
63 year old Mike Hamm, will tell you that he has been blessed beyond adequate words. After a two year aggravating cough with decreased stamina and energy, a Pulmonologist in London KY diagnosed Mike with Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis in March 2013. Follow-up continued at Vanderbilt in Nashville TN. Although still able to work and use intermittent oxygen most days, changes began to happen quickly that fall. Various challenges (distance from his Laurel County home, insurance and continued rapid health decline) found him in the care of Jewish Hospital in Louisville KY. By November 25, 2013, Mike was using high flow continuous oxygen and unable to do minimal things for himself without maximum assistance. December 1st began the three days of intense testing and studies for the possibility of being placed on the organ transplant waiting list. He then met with the surgeon on December 9th and was told that his condition was grave and the only way he would survive would be to have a double lung transplant. Mike went back to his London KY home at the top of the waiting list on December 10th, meaning that he has severely ill. His sister, Melanie, says “I just had a really bad feeling. Beth called me at 11:30 to give encouragement to me and I told her that I was really worried and heart broken. I know that I needed to be a strong support system for my family, that Beth didn’t need to carry it all. The only thing that I could do was ‘hit my knees’ and ask God to hear my heart’s desires for his healing. I prayed for the donor and their family, as I knew that this would be our answer.” The miracle happened! On December 10th at 12:30, just 22 hours after being placed on the transplant waiting list, Mike received the precious phone call … that they had a match for his second chance for another day, week, month and year with his family and friends. A new birthday celebration will be held each December 11th in this Hamm family. Mike is recuperating well and getting stronger and living each day to the fullest because someone cared enough to give the Gift of Life. Knowing that thousands can wait for years on their life-saving gift, this miracle is even more precious! Written by Mike's sister, Melanie Hafley