Basehor woman to donate kidney to ailing father
Sometimes making big decisions can be difficult, but when Marcie (Clouse) Harnden found out her father needed a kidney transplant, she said there was no decision to be made she already knew she wanted to donate one of her own.
"When you come from a very strong family and very loving family, you don't even think about it," Marcie said.
Marcie's father, Martin Clouse, was diagnosed with renal failure earlier this year as a result of diabetes and has spent several days in the hospital receiving treatment during recent months. Martin, 57, has been forced to rely on disability checks to pay the bills since he has not been able to work. Prior to developing his illness, Martin spent 24 years as a welder at Midwest Conveyer in Edwardsville, where he lives with his wife, Peggy.
Marcie, who works in Bonner Springs and lives in Basehor, said she is not scared of the transplant procedure, which will likely take place in mid-September at Kansas University Medical Center.
"I look at it this way, pain is temporary," Marcie said. "I've seen my father very ill and I'm looking forward to seeing him feel better."
Martin said he is grateful for his daughter's decision to donate her kidney because it should help him avoid going on dialysis.
"I think it's the most wonderful thing in the world," Martin said. "We're real close, we always have been. I mean, she's my daughter."
Martin said he has not felt well for quite awhile, but is hopeful that will change.
"I have good days and bad days," he said.
Marcie said doctors have told her to expect three to five days in the hospital following the transplant, and her father will likely remain in the hospital seven to 10 days. During the transplant procedure, one of Marcie's kidneys will be removed and placed in her father. He will end up with three kidneys, because doctors are not going to remove either of his.
"It's actually harder on the donor," Marcie said.
Marcie said doctors assured her she would be fine with just one kidney as long as she remained healthy. Although doctors said they could give Marcie "a list a mile long" detailing possible side effects from the transplant, she said the risks are not as significant as the possible reward.
"Really, the risks are not near as bad as (people) think," Marcie said.
If all goes well during the transplant, Marcie, who will move to Tulsa, Okla., with her husband shortly after the transplant, said she has one big wish.
"For my dad to feel normal and for him to come visit me," she said.
Marcie said she has learned a lot about transplants while undergoing medical tests related to the procedure, but one of the biggest things she has learned is the importance of organ donation.
"There are a lot of sick people out there that could really use (a transplant)," Marcie said. "You would not believe the list of people that are going to die because they don't have one."
The transplant procedure will cost $60,000 for Martin and $40,000 for Marcie. Nearly all the costs associated with the transplant procedure will be picked up by the recipient's insurance, but there will additional expenses for Martin later, such as the high-priced anti-rejection medications he will need to take for the rest of his life.
With those costs in mind, Marcie has organized a fund-raiser to help her parents pay for medication and other expenses that might arise. She wants her father to be able to concentrate on healing, not how he is going to afford to pay bills.
The fund-raiser, which will include dinner and a silent auction, is scheduled for 5 to 8 p.m., Sunday, Aug. 26, at Commercial State Bank, 309 Oak St. in Bonner Springs. Although there is no cost associated with the event, a $5 donation for dinner would be appreciated, Marcie said. Marcie said she is still accepting donations of items for the silent auction. People wishing to donate may call 422-5575 for more information.