Kidney search starts again for Newman Lake woman - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Kidney search starts again for Newman Lake woman

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SPOKANE, Wash. -

Her journey to search for a kidney starts all over again after a potential match failed.

We introduced you to a Newman Lake woman named Shelby Whitson almost three months ago. Her life is on the line.

Shelby was very upbeat during our interview because she had just given blood to finalize a match for a new kidney but we all found out later that her body rejected it.

She needs all the help she can get because right now, she has nobody else in line for testing. "People who have sent me prayers, and positive thoughts, and cards, and emails; I really appreciate that," said Shelby.

Shelby spends most of her days at the Dialysis Center, which is basically a second home for her. She's hooked up to a machine that cleans her blood, removing 15 percent of the toxins. She has to do it three times a week, almost four hours a day. The dialysis machine can be thought of as an artificial kidney, a kidney that Whitson doesn't have. "You don't have a lot of good options. It's either dialysis or death," said Shelby.

Her kidney is failing quickly.  "Shelby does need a kidney. She needs it very, very soon. Time is running out for her," said Mary Forbes, Shelby's friend. Mary's not going to let Shelby go. That's why she's set out to prove that donating a kidney can save a life.

"I'm Margie and I donated my kidney to Tom," said Margie Arnzen, a kidney donor. Margie and her husband Tom have been where Shelby is.

"My kidney started failing and then (I was) put on the transplant list," said Tom.

17 years ago, Tom was diagnosed with polycystic kidney disease. It runs in his family. His father had it and so did his grandfather, who both passed away from it.

Last year, Tom's health really started to decline. "I needed to help him out. I told him that I wanted to donate my kidney," said Margie. Margie went through the paperwork, the bloodwork, and eventually found she was a perfect match.

Tom and Margie both went into surgery. They took one of her kidneys out, giving it to Tom so he could continue to live.

"To have a donated organ firsthand to see what it did for my life, it changed immediately," said Tom.

It's now been over one year and Tom is able to have a normal life. "We were just hiking last month on a nice 12 mile hike and I would have never been able to do that years back," said Tom.

Spending time with his wife, kids, and work his everyday job, it's a gift he won't ever forget.

"It's amazing. You just don't realize. that extra kidney that I had is helping someone so much," said Margie.

It's a gift that Margie is hoping will be given to Shelby.

In today's search for Shelby's kidney, Margie's story has helped her. "It makes you feel very connected," said Shelby.

Even though Shelby has to start searching for a new donor all over again. "It's devastating when you get so excited and then it doesn't work out," said Shelby.

She's got her support system backing her up.

Shelby requires type A or O blood and a donor who is not older than age 40.

You can contact the transplant program at Providence Sacred Heart Medical Center 509-474-4500 or 1-800-667-0502.

The program will walk you through the process and give you a packet of info.

The office is open from 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday but will return your messages

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