Harrodsburg woman survived kidney disease, but others still struggle: ‘Sidney the Kidney’ event Saturday at Millennium
It’s been coined the “silent killer” of the 21st century, but for Harrodsburg resident Donna Patton, the influence kidney disease has had on her life has been anything but silent.
“A lot of people don’t think kidneys are important, but they are,” Patton said.
Patton has polycystic kidney disease, a genetic form of kidney disease. Her own mother, Mary Patton, was on dialysis for 18 years while she battled the disease, ultimately passing away in 2009.
“It was very hard,” Patton said.
Both she and her sister were checked for the disease because of the family history. That’s when Patton found out she, too, had the disease. In 2005, she had to go on dialysis to treat it.
She also has a cousin who has the disease. The cousin’s mother also had it and she spent 27 years of her life on dialysis.
Patton spent nearly four years on dialysis.
“I prayed a lot. I had a lot of prayer warriors,” she said.
People at the church she attended with her then-husband Kendall Dismeaux, Centennial Baptist Church, spent a lot of time in prayer for her. Her family also prayed, as well as her friend Stephanie Browning, and her hairdresser Andrea Warner.
“I prayed a lot to get off that machine because I didn’t want to live on it the rest of my life,” she said.
Being on the dialysis machine was rather limiting, as she would have to go through the process two or three times a day at home. She even suffered an infection while on it, which caused her to get pretty sick.
In 2008, Patton’s life changed when a kidney became available for her.
“When I went in for my transplant, (the church) called everyone to the church to pray,” Patton said.
Getting the phone call to say the kidney has arrived comes with a moment of relief but also fear, Patton said. The recipient has to get the hospital as quickly as possible to be prepped for surgery, as to be ready when the kidney arrives. For her, it meant a long day of waiting, while her kidney didn’t arrive until 10 p.m.
“It’s a long process. But it’s worth waiting for,” she said.
“I feel like God gave me a kidney for a reason,” she said.
Patton’s mom passed away still undergoing dialysis treatments. Two years ago, she found out that her father, James Patton, also has polycystic kidney disease. He has no family history of the disease. Her sister has been tested but she doesn’t have the disease.
Receiving her kidney doesn’t mean Patton is out of the woods yet. She has to keep a watchful eye to not get sick, has to take antibiotics before she goes to the dentist, and tires easily. But she still says she’s “blessed.”
“I’ve been blessed because I did receive a kidney,” Patton said.
Faith is what got Patton through and she said her faith has gotten stronger through all of this. She encourages others waiting for their transplant to be patient and not give up.
“Keep the faith, pray every day. Something will come around. I never thought I would have gotten a kidney as quick as I did either,” she said.
Five years ago, Patton got involved with the Sidney the Kidney 5k Fun Run and Walk, held every year at Millennium Park.
This year, the event is this Saturday. It features health screenings from 9 to 11 a.m., door prizes, silent auction items, kids games and more. The theme is Sidney’s Pajama Party and prizes will be given for the best pajamas.
Registration begins at 8 a.m.; the 5k begins at 9 a.m.; and the walk begins at 9:15 a.m.
The event is sponsored by the Kidney Health Alliance of Kentucky, which raises money to help kidney disease patients and promote awareness.
“It’s fun,” Patton said of the event. It’s a way to help others, she said.
“I want to help who I can,” she said.
SO YOU KNOW
Registration for Sidney’s 5k Fun Run and Walk begins at 8 a.m. Saturday at Millennium Park. Proceeds benefit the Kidney Health Alliance of Kentucky.
Health screenings, including screenings for kidney disease, will take place from 9 to 11 a.m. There will be activities for kids, silent auctions and more.
To learn more about kidney disease or the Kidney Health Alliance of Kentucky, visit www.khaky.org.
Follow Kendra Peek on Twitter, @knpeek.
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