Identical twins Lana Parsons and Laura Guy are celebrating a special day, as Parsons donated her kidney to Guy 20 years ago today.
It was the second transplant for Guy, who went through her first at the age of eight. Guy was born with a kidney disease, but was able to live a normal life until 1980, when she began to go into kidney failure.
At that time, Parsons was too young to donate a kidney, so Laura was put on the transplant list to get a new one.
Less than two months after Guy was put on the list, she received a call from the Sick Children’s Hospital in Toronto and, on March 14, she received a new kidney from a deceased organ donor. Guy and her mom spent three months in Ontario while she took anti-rejection medication before finally being sent home to live a normal life.
The kidney lasted for almost 19 1/2 years. But Guy soon began to feel very tired. She passed it off because she was getting busy for her upcoming wedding.
Two days before her wedding in July 1998, her mom got the terrible news that Guy was in kidney failure again. Her mother refrained from telling Guy the news because she didn’t want anything to ruin her wedding day.
Guy and her husband were going on vacation, but for the sake of her health, her mom had to tell her that she was in kidney failure. Guy was devastated, never thinking this day would come again.
On Oct. 7 of that year, she began the agonizing routine of travelling from Hampden to Corner Brook for dialysis three times a week and 3 ½ hours a day.
However, Guy was blessed, as her identical twin sister was now old enough and willing to give her a kidney.
Parsons went through the standard routine for all potential kidney donors. She said it took a lot of courage, but it was the best gift she could have ever given her sister.
Guy’s second transplant was on Feb. 4, 1999. They were told by the medical team in Halifax that they were the first identical twins in 20 years to undergo a kidney transplant at the hospital.
Twenty years later, Guy is forever grateful to her sister and family for their support.
Guy and Parsons would like to encourage all citizens to consider becoming an organ donor. Many Canadians support the idea of organ and tissue donation, but less than half are registered donors. An organ or tissue transplant can provide a new beginning.
Motor Registration Division no longer records a driver’s intent to be an organ donor as part of a driver’s licence application or renewal.
This information is tracked by the health care system and residents can provide it when they renew their MCP card, or at any time by contacting MCP. Please contact MCP to indicate your intent to be an organ donor, so that the appropriate health care professionals have access to the information when it is needed.
For further information call the Organ Procurement and Exchange of Newfoundland and Labrador at 777-6600 or toll-free at 1-877-640-1110.