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Community Health Article

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Community Health Article

On January 9, 2007 an article was published in the LaCrosse Tribune which touched base on living donors. A lady named Cindy Stambach needed a kidney once her own kidney failed after chemotherapy to treat ovarian cancer. A total stranger named Rick Gardner, who is a nurse at Franciscan Skemp in Stoddard Wisconsin, decided to give up one of his kidneys to her. Rick stated that he had seen so many people waiting for a transplant and that he wanted once less person to have to wait for a kidney.

Cindy Stambach received Rick Gardner's kidney 20 months ago. The operation took place at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota. Gardner became the seventh non-directed altruistic donor (on March 30, 2005) since the Mayo clinic started allowing strangers to donate organs in 2003. Cindy is very grateful that Rick helped save her life. She along with many others can still not believe it. Cindy wondered if she would ever be able to meet her donor and she soon received a request in the mail to release her name to him. She was very nervous but she wanted to thank him in person. Cindy and Rick's family decided to meet seven months ago at a diner in Rochester Minnesota. Stambach was overwhelmed but the meeting was just what she needed; she was finally able to say thank you to the man who helped save her life. The gathering went so well that the two still keep in contact and hope to reunite this coming summer for a few days.

Now with a new kidney and her ovarian cancer in remission for six years, Stambach is looking forward to going back to work in 2007 as a pre-school teaching assistant. Cindy continues to visit the kidney dialysis center, which was a big part of her life for four years. She wants to give other patients hope and let them know she cares. "I don't want to forget them and what they're going through," Stambach said. "I worry about them and hope they stay alive



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