By Judy Reed
We usually celebrate Christmas once a year, but one area family is still celebrating a Christmas gift they received 20 years ago.
On December 27, 1990, the Post ran a front page story about the kidney that Judy Fisher, then 47, had donated to her daughter, Jodi, then 21, a week earlier. Jodi had suffered from lupus since the age of 12, and her kidneys deteriorated until the fall of 1989, when they were functioning at less than 3 percent capacity. Many patients have to wait years for a kidney, but in 1990, Judy found out that she could be a donor for her daughter.
“I have never regretted it,” said Judy. “It was a kind of a gift to us that we could right what was going on.”
At the time, Jodi’s son, Dan Huizenga was four-years-old. Jodi’s father, Rick, took care of his grandson while both Judy and Jodi recovered from their surgery. “Having a good support system is important,” said Jodi.
She is grateful for how her parents have helped her. “Most parents wouldn’t do what my parents did for me,” she remarked.
Jodi is doing well with the kidney, though she can no longer work. “I really watch what I eat, get my rest, and take my medication,” explained Jodi. “Doing things when you’re supposed to is really important.”
Judy said she had no problems with her own recovery and would urge more people to do what she did. “I feel wonderful and I wonder why more people don’t give up one of their kidneys,” she said. “I never felt a difference.”
Judy said she thinks that she and her daughter are closer since the operation. “If we were in a restaurant or somewhere, and someone sat down between us, Jodi would say, ‘You’re sitting between Mother’s kidneys!’ She’s had such a good sense of humor for someone whose gone through so much. But who knows, maybe we would’ve been this close anyway,” she added.
Rick Fisher is just glad they got to experience a Christmas miracle. “Every day that we have her (Jodi) is a blessing,” he said. “If we hadn’t done it, she might not have been around very long.”
To find out more about donating a kidney, visit www.kidneyregistry.org.