I am honored to announce that I am doing a Fundraiser for a High School friend, Chrissy and her sister Justine. Please read their story below, and consider a donation via purchase.
Here is Chrissy and Justine’s inspiring story of strength, love and faith!
My name is Chrissy Kihm and I have polycystic kidney disease (PKD). I inherited the disease from my biological mother. PKD is a genetic disease that causes cysts to form on your kidneys. There is currently no cure and no treatment for this disease. It affects 12.5 million people worldwide.
In July 2010 at the age of 31 I had to have my right kidney removed because it grew too large and was pushing on my diaphragm. When they removed the kidney, it was 9”. A healthy kidney is the size of a clenched fist. We hoped that my left kidney would last for another 20 years. I recovered well and went back to work six weeks later; only to be back in the hospital a week after returning to work. We were in shock when the doctors told us that my right kidney had grown so large that it pushed my stomach from the left half to the right half of my body and that was why I was unable to eat. We searched for other options until October when we made the decision to remove my last remaining kidney because I was dying of malnutrition. My last kidney came out on October 15 and I started Hemodialysis on October 16, 2010.
I am currently on Peritoneal Dialysis, which is a dialysis I can do at home when I sleep. I do a “mid-day exchange” between 4:00-5:00, which is simply draining the fluid/toxins and refilling with dialysis solution. Then at bedtime, I hook up to my machine again and dialyze for 10 hours through the night. I have been unable to work since last September. I have good days and bad days and have been very unreliable in how I am feeling. I’ve also had quite a few unique events such as abscesses, a pneumothorax, extremely high blood pressure and now very low blood pressure, gastroparesis, Pericarditis, etc. throughout the last year that has made it impossible to work. Our Faith is strong and we just go with the flow and work through the hurdles as they come.
My youngest sister, Justine Stere, is 23 years old. She has bravely and selflessly stepped forward to be my kidney donor and is a match. This is the greatest gift anyone can give. She will be giving me my life back and giving my husband his wife back. I am looking forward to being able to drink milk again and eat all the fruits and veggies that I love and have not been able to eat since starting dialysis. I can’t wait to go back to work and be a contributing member of society again. I’ll be able to attend my Sunday morning Mass again (I don’t usually feel well in the mornings). I won’t have to be tethered to a machine all night. I will be able to make plans and actually follow through with them; I will be able travel more freely. I’ll be able to get this catheter out of my belly, feel better and have energy again. She is saving my life and is my hero.
Unfortunately, she just found out that being a kidney donor is not covered under her disability benefits. She is a waitress and has a very physical job, which means that she will be out of work for six weeks – all unpaid. This breaks my heart and I have to do something for her. Being disabled, my income is very limited as well.
I will be selling Thirty-One Totes to all those interested between Saturday, December 10, 2011 through Sunday, January 22, 2012. For every Thermal Tote sold, I will donate $6 to Chrissy and Justine.
Please show your support and make a donation to Justine! She is a courageous young woman who is giving her sister life!