#MyDotStory: Sheila Moran
Meet the DTI employee encouraging others to “share their spare” during National Kidney Month
The “Verde Nice to Meet You” green-toned nails of Dot Transportation Assistant Transportation Manager Sheila Moran have nothing to do with St. Patrick’s Day. Rather, her festive seasonal manicure is a subtle reminder that March is National Kidney Month and the perfect time to remind others about the steps they can take to help save lives.
Sheila and Mike–a close friend of more than 40 years–are both living proof of this.
In 2017, Mike and his wife, Teresa, came to Sheila and her husband, Bob, with shocking and potentially life-threatening news. Mike had end-stage renal disease and would require a kidney transplant. Mike’s best hope would be to find a willing and qualified kidney donor.
Sheila and Bob both stepped up to help their friend.
Due to his history of kidney stones, Bob was ineligible to become a donor. Sheila, however, was able to move forward in the multi-step process that was not without its own obstacles. An unforeseen medical issue had Sheila in the hospital for several days and ultimately delayed the process by about six months. And in late 2018, the families made the difficult decision to switch hospitals and find a new care team with Barnes Jewish Hospital in St. Louis. By the time the families were able to officially secure a transplant date, nearly a year and a half had passed since Sheila first decided to become a donor. According to Sheila, this duration is on the longer end of the spectrum with most timelines stretching between six months to a year.
In May of that year, the families had officially completed the pre-donor journey and were finally able to get a transplant date on the books: August 20, 2019 (two years after Mike’s initial 2017 diagnosis).
When the big day arrived, the extended families of both Sheila and Mike were on hand at 4:00 am to extend their support and positivity in person.
“We all put our hands in and did a ‘let’s go’ cheer before we headed off into surgery,” Sheila said.
The surgery went as planned and without issue. Sheila says that typically doctors will transplant a left kidney, but in this case opted to transplant her right kidney which had a large cyst that was removed prior to Mike’s receiving the kidney.
“I joke with him that he got the defective one,” she said.
Fortunately the “defective” one was not so at all. The kidney worked right away and before too long, both Mike and Sheila were on the road to recovery. Sheila notes that neither the procedure nor the recovery time were too severe for either herself or Mike. She was back home to Jacksonville after two nights in the hospital and Mike was headed back home after just four days.
“Honestly, knee replacement surgery was harder than donating a kidney,” she said.
Mike and Sheila are both doing great to this day and their families are closer than ever before. In 2020, to commemorate their first “kidney-versary” both families took a celebratory trip to Florida for a relaxing and commemorative vacation.
Upwards of 5,000 people lose their lives every year due to kidney conditions and another 5,000 are taken off of the donor recipient list annually due to declining health. As viable donors can live completely normal lives on a single kidney, she encourages those who are able to “share their spare”. Sheila also recommends checking with your insurance provider and company’s HR departments to find out exactly what costs are covered for prospective donors as well as how medical leave requests will be handled. She’s thankful that Dot Foods and the insurance they provide were 100% on board.
“Not all insurance companies acknowledge donors, but fortunately Dot’s insurance covered 100% of expenses and short-term disability covered any time off as well as all my appointments. Everyone at Dot was very supportive throughout the entire process,” she said.
For more information on becoming a kidney donor, visit kidney.org/transplantation.
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