Young mother in “desperate” need of kidney transplant

Published: Jul. 10, 2020 at 9:50 PM CDT
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WAUSAU, Wis. (WSAW) - There are nearly 114,000 people on the national waiting list for organ transplants throughout the United States. Here in Wisconsin, over 2,000 men, women, and children are awaiting what could be a life-saving donation.

That includes 24-year-old Alison Snortheim.

“I think the longer I’m on the transplant list, the harder it gets,” said Snortheim, who was first placed on the transplant list in November.

The Auburndale resident is in need of an O+ kidney due to complications with an extremely rare disease called Anti-glomerular basement membrane (anti-GBM) antibody disease.

Several people have been tested to be a live donor, including her two sisters, but challenges continue to present themselves.

“The blood matching isn’t necessarily the problem. I have a rare set of antibodies that are specific to kidneys,” explained Snortheim. “A person (with anti-GBM) can survive on Dialysis for a while, you just don’t have a very good quality of life. For me, it’s hard because we have a hard time controlling the levels of toxins in my body that your kidney’s control.”

Alison is motivated to fight, thinking about her two-year-old daughter, Eleanor, and her one-year-old son, Owen. The thought of them growing up without a mother is what drives her to make the most of each day.

“I think about that every day,” Snortheim said. “I guess I just try to live my life as if today’s going to be my last day.”

It’s been a long process for the young mother, with no end in sight.

There is a possibility Alsion could be a match with a donor that passes away, but a live donor would be more beneficial.

“Living donors can be an incredible blessing for someone that’s looking for a kidney or looking for a liver,” said Jill Dillon, co-founder of Central Wisconsin Gift of Life. “Living donors, the kidney will often times last 25 to 50% longer than a kidney that comes from a deceased donor. We know that if we can find somebody a living donor that they have a chance of that kidney lasting so much longer.”

Dillon’s organization has made that their mission, sharing stories like Alison’s with the world via social media to try and spread the word about the importance of live organ donation, as well as trying to find the perfect match to give the gift of life.

“Anytime we have young parents, a young mother or young father with small children or children of any age, we feel for them. We feel for their families and we know how important it is that they be there and they be present in their children’s lives,” Dillon added. “We know there’s somebody out there that will hopefully see her story and understand the importance.”

“We’re desperate,” added Wendy Bendickson, Alison’s mother. “She needs a kidney. She needs to be here for her family.”

For anyone interested in finding out if they can be a live donor or even possibly a match with Alison, visit the Mayo Clinic Website.

If you aren’t able to donate an organ but would like to help the family with the medical expenses that continue to add up, a GoFundMe has been set up for Alison’s care.

“I can’t even come up with the words of how grateful we are,” Snortheim said. “It’s something that you don’t ever think you’re going to go through, so to go through it now to see the hundreds of people that have come together to try and help, it’s amazing.”

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