Kidney exchange program helps Midstate woman get off dialysis with the help of a family friend

Something Good

(WHTM) — On this Thanksgiving, a very grateful local family is thankful for an exchange that gave a quality life gift.

We shared Miranda Nixon’s story about this time in 2020 in the heat of the pandemic. Miranda, diagnosed with kidney disease at 17, spent six-plus years on dialysis. Her kidneys failed, working at just 10%.

In 2020, Miranda hoped the kidney exchange program would find one for her. “I am immunocompromised. It had been about six months or so until I was put on the transplant list. In November we were still looking for a donor,” Nixon said.

Fast forward to 2021. Cumberland County’s Mary Oliviera, a friend of Miranda’s mom Tina, saw a Facebook post that read: “I’m a mom and my child needs help.”

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“It hit my heart and it hit my soul. I reached out to Tina and said I am going to try; I don’t know where it will go but I’m going to try. Every time I got called back for another test, that was a good sign. I was passing,” Oliviera said.

And then the magic words, “I recall it was the Friday before MLK weekend when I got the call from my coordinator, and she said you’ve been approved, and I started crying,” Oliviera said.

Mary is not a match for Miranda, but is for another recipient through the paired package. The surgeries would have happened on the same day. “I got the call from my coordinator; we have some news, unfortunately, Miranda’s direct donor is unable to move forward with the surgery next week,” Oliviera said.

“I was scheduled for St. Patty’s Day to have surgery. Unfortunately, the person I was receiving the kidney from had issues with COVID,” Nixon said.

Mary is the trigger for four exchanges that would be made around the nation. “And I said if I say no because I want to wait for Miranda’s day, that means those other families had to get the same call she got because of my decision, and I can’t do that,” Oliviera said.

Mary donates a kidney in March. With the promise Miranda will get one from someone else. “I didn’t get news again until June that I was going to get a kidney. The person that matched with me was from Tennessee. I got a kidney from Vanderbilt, flew in on the morning of June 9 and I got surgery at 2:30,” Nixon said.

A life-changing operation. “I don’t have to do dialysis anymore. Every day I am appreciative. I’m 24, the last time we talked I was 23. So, it was kind of crazy because I felt like I still have so much life to live, and going through that process was difficult, but I am beyond thankful that Mary donated on my behalf,” Nixon said.

“We’ve had this incredible experience and bond we can share forever, and I remember being asked during the process what is your one big wish to come out of this and I can look back having just turned 50 and say, I’ve had a good life and I want Miranda to have the same,” Oliviera said.

Miranda’s donation kidney could last for 20 years. If you would like to learn more about kidney donation, visit the link here.

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