Local woman seeks kidney transplant

Morrell Park resident Lindsey Abbott, a 2002 Archbishop Ryan graduate, has been battling kidney failure for three years.

Seeking a lifesaver: Lindsey Abbott, pictured with her daughers Aniya Rose and Isabella Elise, was diagnosed with abnormal kidney function when she was 8 years old. For the last three years, she has battled renal failure and is undergoing dialysis as she awaits another kidney.

Morrell Park resident Lindsey Abbott has been dealing with kidney issues most of her life.

It was back in 1992, when as an 8-year-old, a chronically ill Lindsey was diagnosed with abnormal kidney function. After being admitted to St. Christopher’s Hospital for Children, doctors determined she was suffering from end-stage renal disease.

Lindsey was placed on a national waiting list for a transplant.

In January 1994, the cadaver of a 35-year-old North Carolina woman was found to be a perfect match. Then a fourth-grader at St. Jerome Elementary School, Lindsey underwent a successful transplant surgery.

“I was diagnosed at 8 and was sick all the time,” she recalled. “I got my first transplant at 10. It lasted about 10 years, then went into rejection.”

The rejection followed regular medical emergencies.

“St. Christopher’s Hospital for Children was her second home,” said her mom, Sue Guenther.

It was in 2003 when the kidney began to fail, and it took two years of grueling dialysis treatments to save her life. She had a second transplant surgery, this time from the cadaver of a 19-year-old Philadelphia man, that was ultimately successful.

“That’s the one I have now, which is failing,” she said.

While living with the second kidney, she gave birth to two girls. Aniya Rose is 9. Isabella Elise is 4.

But her health troubles were not over. For the last three years, she has battled renal failure and is undergoing dialysis as she awaits another kidney.

“On June 4, it was three years waiting,” she said.

Lindsey, who has been and always will be on anti-rejection medicine, is on dialysis seven days a week. Treatments are twice a day, along with overnight.

Lindsey, a 2002 Archbishop Ryan High School graduate, has A-negative blood. She explained that it’s typical to wait three to five years for a transplant. Because she’s already had two transplants, finding a donor can be harder and the rejection level higher. It would be preferable, she said, to receive a kidney from a living donor.

“It’s a waiting game,” she said.

To be eligible, a donor has to have O or A blood, either positive or negative. A living donor would also have to be healthy.

Family and friends have printed fliers and bumper stickers to spread the word.

“We need some help,” her mom said. “We’re trying all avenues. It hasn’t been easy. It’s been a struggle.”

Lindsey used to work at Hahnemann University Hospital, in its transplant department. However, she missed a lot of work due to her medical challenges. Because of that, along with insomnia and the energy sapped from her body while she fights the disease, her doctor recommended that she stop working, as of May 1.

“It’s very difficult to take care of two kids and myself,” she said.

Aniya made a Christmas wish that she could be a donor for her mom. The youngster has also made a YouTube video and keeps a book of emergency phone numbers in case her mom has a medical scare.

“She’s only 9,” her mom said.

Lindsey is hoping to hear some good news soon.

“I need a kidney and want to be here to watch my kids grow,” she said. ••

Anyone interested in becoming a donor can call Jennifer, the transplant coordinator at Hahnemann University Hospital, at 215–762–8184.