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Stories of hope

Connie Foster: My sister’s gift

Connie Foster with two thumbs up

I was with my family at my parents’ farm in S.E. Iowa. My sister, Jackie, travelled from MN. My brother, Thom, his wife and I came from Chicago. We were happily celebrating our love!

We heard the phone ring and found out it was Jack, Jackie’s husband.

Jackie said “I’ll get it, Dad!” (on phone) “Hello?…Oh Hi Jack! No, I’m NOT sitting down right now. What do you want?” (pause) “What?” (she slowly sat down…pause…she looks at us and says) “…I’ve got a kidney…”

Jackie had been diagnosed with polycystic kidney disease a year and a half ago, but she was indeed doing amazing. She was skilled enough to give herself dialysis 10 hours a day.

We had been having so much silly fun together but when we heard the word “kidney” TIME STOPPED! There was complete & utter STILLNESS until Jackie said “…I need to get to the hospital as soon as possible!”

Then everyone started to scurry laughing and crying and scurrying!

Photo collage, A family tree we sure are proud of. Picturing side-by-side: James and Joshua Bartley; Connie Foster and Perri Alfredson Bartley; Pat Foster and Jackie Foster AlfredsonWe helped pack her dialysis stuff into her car, loaded a bunch of water jugs, her suitcase, and some fresh Iowa corn.

Daddy was trying to be brave. Thom put his arms around us and lovingly prayed for God to protect Jackie and I on this most important journey. We kissed and hugged everyone and hopped into the car! We were off.

The next day, September 6, 1996, my dear sister, Jackie, received her new kidney — extending her life four years until her passing in 2000. Her daughter, Perri, and grandson, Joshua, inherited PKD as well. They have each received two kidney transplants since 2010. Three of them were donated from wonderful friends.

Your gift to UNOS helps strengthen the transplant system so more families affected by PKD receive the lifesaving transplants they need. Support today:

A family changed by PKD and organ donors

Read Connie’s niece’s story: Perri Bartley: Three living kidney donors

April is National Donate Life Month

This month is a time to celebrate the generosity of those who have saved lives by becoming organ, eye and tissue donors, and to encourage more people to register! Learn more about UNOS’ lifesaving work and ways you can get involved.

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