“You don’t have to donate a kidney to save lives – you can donate blood and save lives, too.”– Sheila Coquet
Please come to the “Friends in Faith Blood” Drive
Thursday, June 1, 2017, noon to 7 p.m.
The Bible Chapel-South Hills- Room 308
300 Gallery Drive, McMurray, PA 15317
Peters Township Woman Donating Kidney to Save a Friend Promotes Blood Donation
Some things were meant to be. Like when Peters Township moms Kristen Johnson and Sheila Coquet met at a local playground with their kids. Five years later, the women and their children are friends for life. That’s miracle enough in today’s transient environment. But the true miracle? Sheila will save her friend’s life by donating a kidney to Kristen on June 2.
Both women believe their paths crossing, and what has transpired since, is nothing short of divine intervention.
Rewind to last summer, when Sheila was mourning the anniversary of her friend Jessi’s death due to complications from a liver transplant. Kristen asked for more details, and eventually shared the devastating news that she needed a kidney transplant. Kristen received a kidney 22 years ago, but it was failing. The outlook was discouraging, because the wait for a kidney from a deceased donor can range from three to five years. During the wait, Kristen would need to undergo dialysis, an experience she recalled as “miserable.”
At this point, the miracle began. Sheila found out they were both type A blood, and offered to be tested to determine compatibility beyond blood type. “I did not want her to feel obligated to go through this testing,” Kristen said. She said ‘I would be honored to go through this testing for you.’ That’s when I knew she was serious. I was really amazed she would do this for me.”
On her birthday weekend in September, Sheila got a call from Kristen – it’s time. Kristen’s kidney function had declined to the point she needed a transplant. Sheila went in for the testing. Two weeks before Thanksgiving, Sheila received a call at work with the results – she was a perfect match.
Sheila needed to tell her friend the good news, but was so overwhelmed with emotion she wasn’t sure how. On her way to Kristen’s house she stopped at a market that sold giant cookies that could be customized with a message, and spilled out her story to the market owner. Touched and amazed, he gifted her with a cookie that simply said “We Match.”
“Kristen opens her door and I just hold up the cookie. I knew I wouldn’t be able to say anything,” remembers Sheila.
Kristen stood there, amazed as well. “She was the only one to get tested and I thought, ‘what are the chances she’d match?’ It was a miracle, really.”
As the surgery drew closer, many people commented to Sheila that they couldn’t do what she was doing. Sheila wanted to tell them that there were other ways to help save lives, and remembered a time when she herself needed blood, but it wasn’t immediately available.
“Giving the gift of life – anyone potentially has that ability. You don’t have to donate a kidney to save lives – you can donate blood and save lives, too.”
Sheila contacted Central Blood Bank, and scheduled a blood drive June 1, the day before the surgery. The Friends in Faith Blood Drive will be held at The Bible Chapel-South Hills church, a place that holds special meaning for the women as well. Sheila visited the church last summer, shortly before the transplant conversation occurred. She was surprised to see Kristen sitting in a pew. It turned out that Kristen has been a member of that church for 30 years.
The church, and their faith, plays a big part in the women’s story. “I have a strong faith in Jesus Christ that he will provide. He gives us just what we need at the right time, so I feel like he provided this opportunity just at the right time for me. I feel very grateful and very blessed,” says Kristen.
“Every day when I wake up I say ‘God, what do you want me to do with my life?’” says Sheila. “I would have done anything to save my friend Jessi’s life, but I couldn’t make a difference for her. Now I can. I know she’s looking down on me and she approves.
“I met Jessi through my kids; I met Kristen through my kids – there are no coincidences.”
To make an appointment for this drive, contact firstname.lastname@example.org, call 866-366-6771
or click here and use the Group CodeG0450023.
PREPARE FOR YOUR DONATION • EAT WELL • STAY HYDRATED • BRING ID