Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

January 17, 2013

Woman hoping for ‘miracle’ kidney

Tim Preston
CNHI News Service

ASHLAND — Sandy Sergent honestly doesn’t know what will happen to her without a miracle by the end of the month.

“She has been on the kidney donor list for three years with no success ... and her creatine levels are rising,” said Sergent’s friend and coworker, Bonnie McDavid, who explained the insurance plan where they work, King’s Daughters and Sons Home, expires as of Feb. 1.

“We’ve got two weeks from the first of the month to do something,” McDavid said, expressing her deepest hope a suitable organ donor can be found for Sergent before it is too late.

Sergent has explored every option for insurance and other benefits, only to be denied or to learn the coverage costs as much or more per month than she earns. A resident of Pedro along with her husband, Gary, and two stepchildren, Sergent can’t even qualify for insurance programs in Kentucky that would otherwise be an option six months after her own insurance expires.

Sergent, 52, who works as laundry and housekeeping supervisor at the home with McDavid, said she found out she was dealing with kidney disease in 2008, likely as a result of blood pressure-related issues.

“I woke up to go to work and my mouth was drooped. I thought I’d had a stroke,” she said, explaining she went to an emergency room where tests quickly revealed she had damage to her kidneys. “Within a week, they told me I need a new kidney.”

“To look at her, you’d never know anything was wrong with her,” said McDavid, who works as a nursing supervisor at the home.

“They wanted her to do dialysis, but she would have had to quit work,” McDavid said, explaining Sergent has been an exceptional employee at the facility for 30 years. With a glance toward Sergent, McDavid explained she had to persuade her longtime friend into going public with her story, with hopes of nothing less than a miracle in the form of a donated kidney.

“It’s true ... we are (hoping for a miracle),” she said. “It’s the last resort.

While obviously hoping for something to change, Sergent shoulders the burden of the situation without expectation, and faces the harsh reality with a smile despite the hardships she will almost certainly deal with after the first of February.

“Honestly, I don’t know what I’ll be able to do,” Sergent said with a slight shrug, as always, smiling despite the circumstances.

For more information about kidney donation for Sergent, call Mitzi Barker, RN, at the University of Cincinnati Medical Center at (513) 584-1958, or call McDavid, Sergent or supervisor Steve Perry at KD&S at (606) 325-0383.

TIM PRESTON can be reached at tpreston@dailyindependent.com.