A woman is using social media to get her mom a kidney and raise awareness in Ontario
Lucy Latino is in need of a kidney and her daughter, Dannielle Rodrigues has taken to Instagram to find someone willing to donate.
"It's such a trip to be out there and literally asking people for an organ," Rodrigues told blogTO. "We're not asking for a cup of sugar, you know, it's a big deal."
Rodrigues started accounts on Instagram and Facebook in January for her 63-year-old mom who was diagnosed with the rare kidney disease Focal Segmental Glomerulosclerosis (FSGS).
Latino entered into kidney failure this past April.
"It was about 13 years when her kidney first started to decline," says Rodrigues. "They were stable for so long that we thought maybe mom would just stabilize for the rest of her life and be fine. Unfortunately, her kidney had a different plan for her."
The Latino family, who used to live in Toronto and now reside an hour away in Stouffville with Lucy's two granddaughters, are currently working to also get Lucy on a waitlist for a deceased donor.
The wait time is five years or more given that those with type O blood like Latino can only accept from someone with the same blood type whereas O donors can give to anyone.
"In five years, she's going to be five years older and who knows if her body will be strong enough to receive a transplant at that age," Rodrigues says.
Latino also has to get on dialysis before she'll be added to the deceased donor waitlist, which is isolated to Ontario and Quebec this year instead of providing its usual national reach due to the pandemic.
Although they are working to get her on the list to better improve their chances, the family is continuing their search for a living donor as the outcome tends to be more successful with a living transplant.
The social channels haven't helped them find a donor yet, which doesn't surprise Rodrigues since 70 per cent of people that go through the screening process don't end up becoming living donors. It has helped provide a bit of community though.
"There's such a supportive community out there of people who have been in my mom's shoes or families of people who've been in my mom's shoes," Rodrigues says.
Although they continue to wait for a donor, Rodrigues sees already how her mom's story is raising awareness for the 1,537 people currently waiting for a transplant in Ontario alone.
"It's unfortunate that my mom's story is not unique," Rodrigues says. "But there are many people who have been influenced to sign up to be an organ donor when they pass. That's a win because that'll get the waitlist down."
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