Local woman with kidney failure searches for donor - WNEM TV 5

Local woman with kidney failure searches for donor

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After years of trying to keep her own body from shutting down, a local woman’s family is reaching out for support and to educate the public.

Juliana Abel’s battle with kidney failure started when she was just 13 years old. Since then, she’s suffered setback after setback on the road to recovery.

It’s been more than nine years since the now 22-year-old first needed a new kidney. At 17, things only got worse. Juliana started losing hair to alopecia and a seizure nearly took her life.

By 19, her first kidney transplant failed, forcing her to go to dialysis three to seven times a week.

Four months later, doctors had to remove a tumor from her left ovary along with the fallopian tube wrapped around it.

She’s also had neck surgery and stomach problems.

It’s been a long and painful road for Juliana but she said her mother gives her the support she needs to get through.

“My mom is my everything. I don’t know where I’d be without her. I actually sleep with my mom still. It’s just the comfort and when I feel sick it makes me feel better,” she said.

Juliana’s grandmother donated her kidney the first time she needed a transplant.

"I was kind of scared, but you can live with one kidney. I'm living proof.  You can live with one kidney.  It was hardly anything to it, except testing, the donation, and I'm so glad I did it. I wish I could do it again,” Faye Stepanski said.

Juliana said she wants to be a nurse so she can help others the way she’s been helped for years.

Right now, though, her family is pleading for the public’s help so she can live to see that day.

Juliana’s situation requires a kidney from a living donor with a specific blood type. The more people who sign up to donate, the better chances she’ll find a match and the more lives will be saved.

For more information on kidney donation, click here

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