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Running on faith

After being diagnosed with polycystic kidneys since birth, Tammy Pendleton recently found out she is eligible for a transplant.

Having lived in Jessamine County for 14 years, Pendleton said she primarily worked at the Lexington Baptist Temple until a hip problem and her kidney disease forced her to become permanently disabled.

“I used to work at my church’s daycare until 2005. At that time I became legally disabled because of a hip problem that I’ve had since birth and my kidney disease,” Pendleton said. “I have had a genetic kidney disease since birth but did not find out until I was almost 40. My family doctor has been monitoring my kidney function since then. It has gradually gotten worse.”

Pendleton said she found out four months ago she has stage four renal failure. After being referred to the University of Kentucky Transplant Center by a nephrologist, Pendleton was told her kidney’s had to be functioning at 20 percent in order to be put on the donor list.

“I just found out a couple of weeks ago at my checkup that I have reached that level,” Pendleton said. “There are two ways for a transplant, a live donor and a deceased donor. The deceased donor program is for someone who is on life support whose family has chosen to donate their organs or they themselves have a donor card. The wait list is four-to-five years. I’ve also been told the most successful transplants are from live donors.”

Pendleton said anyone who is willing to be tested can contact the transplant center and fill out a questionnaire. Even if they may not be a match for her, the center has an exchange program that works to match recipients with those who choose to donate, she said. Although, if a match is not found, Pendleton may have to go on dialysis.

“If my function level keeps declining, I may have to go on dialysis. I am the only driver in our family and we are always on the go,” Pendleton said. “As a mother, I want to be able to continue to be as active with my children and grandchildren as I possibly can. My license wouldn’t be taken away, but I’m sure I would have to try to schedule around my dialysis as I take my twins to work after school, get groceries and have doctor appointments etc.”

In fact, Pendleton said her oldest daughter and one of her granddaughters have been diagnosed with the same polycystic disease.

“I feel so bad that my daughter and granddaughter have this disease,” Pendleton said. “I hope some type of medication or something can be in place before they get to advance stages. It’s really important that they are monitored by a nephrologist so they can get help and support in this process. Right now they get quite a few infections and it hurts to see them hurt. ”

Pendleton said through her faith she knows the Lord is working through the situation and she feels blessed to have the opportunity to speak.

“I have not reached out to the public before now,” Pendleton said. “I am not used to asking for help.  There is one gentleman in our neighborhood that has requested info from UK about becoming a donor. A sweet friend from high school has also. A few other people have asked for the contact information but I really don’t have any idea on how the process is going. I am so grateful that people have volunteered.”

Pendleton said until she started the process she had no idea how it all worked or how many people were on the donor list.

“I really just asked for prayer for getting a donor. The outpour of support from family, friends, neighbors, and strangers have been awesome,” Pendleton said. “I feel so blessed for the opportunity. I know the Lord is working through this.”

For more information or to see if you may be a match for Pendleton, call 859-323-2467.