FORTSON, Ga — March is National Kidney Month—a time to raise awareness about the importance of good kidney health.
But it’s also a time to recognize the fight of the many brave people battling kidney disease and awaiting transplants. News 3 introduces you to a local woman who understands the struggle of kidney disease all too well.
Since 2004, Willie Mae Williams has battled kidney disease. Still a young woman, in the prime of her life, she inherited the battle through genetics.
“I got it, inherited it, through my mother. I have other siblings. My mother had eleven kids, and out of eleven, six of us have the disease,” says Willie Mae Williams.
Two of her brothers have died from it. Thankfully, one of her sisters is flourishing after a kidney transplant.
Mrs. Williams and her family are among more than an estimated 661,000 Americans suffering from kidney failure. Of that number, dialysis is a regular part of life for approximately 468,000 Americans in kidney failure. These statistics were gathered from the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases website, representing numbers from 2015.
Even though dialysis takes up much of her time, three times a week, Mrs. Williams doesn’t complain.
Greg asks, “How do you keep yourself in such wonderful spirits?”
Mrs. Williams responds, “Oh, by the grace of God. By the grace of God.”
Mrs. Williams thought she’d found a donor, but that didn’t work out for her. Her husband wants to donate one of his kidneys, but he isn’t a match. She’s on transplant lists, but with a donor, she could get a kidney faster.
“In Georgia, it’s like a four to five year wait for donors. Like I say, you can live with one. We only need one,” says Mrs. Williams.
But for now her wait continues, and her faith remains strong.
If you’re interested in being a donor for Mrs. Williams or finding out more information about being a kidney donor in general, you can contact Barbara O’Neal at Piedmont Institute in Atlanta at (404) 605-4128.
Mrs. Williams needs an A Positive or O Positive donor. All potential donors undergo tremendous screenings before being approved to donate.