It was a devastating blow for the Wheeler-Jacobs family. 29-year-old Devon Wheeler-Jacobs has Wegeners Granuloma, a disease that causes kidney failure. She desperately needs a kidney transplant and her brother was going to be her donor. See A Special Bond.
While the siblings bond ran thicker than blood, medical science showed her only brother David, would not be able to donate his kidney to his ailing sister. "He found out his arteries were too small. Even though we had a perfect match with the kidney itself, the arteries were too small for them to do the surgery," explained Devon.
And just like that, Devon's plans for a healthy life with her husband and 4-year-old son AJ were temporarily put on hold. "It was very disappointing," she said. "But I know I still have to push on and I have to stay strong, and just wait for something better to come along."
Devon's mother Wanda tells us it's easier said than done. "Just try and pick up the pieces and keep going forward. And pray that someone will come forward and give her a kidney," she said.
So now, the wait begins. Devon will continue with her dialysis treatments three hours a day, three days a week. She'll also take medication to keep her kidney's going. It's her only hope now until a kidney can be found. "I'm just really hoping for another match, so I can see that light at the end of the tunnel again," Devon smiled.
Devon has been on a transplant list since April. She and her family will now have to count on the kindness of strangers to help them prolong Devon's life. Something none of them had contemplated before Devon got sick. "When I would go to renew my license and it would ask if you wanted to be a donor, I'd say, 'Oh no. I don't want them cutting me up,'" exclaimed Wanda. "But in actuality, you can't use any of those parts once your soul is gone, so why not?"
Devon agrees and hopes others will do the same. "Before this, I can honestly say we had never really thought about organ donation," said Devon. "But now, if I can get someone to even consider it, than that would be wonderful for me. I'm just going to keep pressing on."
Devon must now wait for a phone call to see if a match has been found. It could be days, months or years before that will happen. Meanwhile, other members of her family will also be tested to see if they are a match.
You can help Devon or someone else, by signing the back of your driver's license to be an organ donor. That will put you on the state registry.
You can also call Life Link of Georgia and ask for a donor card at 800.544.6667 or you can reach them on their web site at www.lifelinkfound.org. To be a living donor, you can directly contact your nearest transplant center, like the Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville, Florida at 904.296.4607.
Reported by: Melanie A. Ruberti, firstname.lastname@example.org