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Townsend woman steps up to donate life-saving kidney

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TOWNSEND — Liane Slosek is ill. She moves slowly, sinking onto a chair at the side of the room while she waits to join a group setting up a table. Her eyes are ringed with circles of fatigue.

Those same eyes light up as she watches her daughter join other children at the computer stations in the library. The 32-year-old woman is awaiting a kidney transplant — her third.

Her troubles began as a 3-year-old child. “Her kidneys had basically shut down,” said her aunt, Hazel Cady. After the initial treatment, Slosek, her family and her medical team managed the disease until she was 13.

Kidney transplants have become very familiar to the victim of stage 2 reflux. “I had my first one in 1992,” Slosek said. Her mother had recently died and Cady became her guardian immediately before the transplant surgery.

The first transplant at age 14 was not a success. “She rejected it within 12 hours,” Cady said. “They took it out at 6 p.m.,” Slosek said.

Her second transplant was a different story. It took some time, but one week after surgery it began to work. The kidney functioned for 15 years. Now, Slosek has been on dialysis for more than two years. Her mother-in-law offered a kidney but it was not compatible.

Lindsay Morand of Townsend learned of Slosek’s plight from Cady. The two women are both members of the Daughters of Rebekah, the women’s branch of the Independent Order of Oddfellows, a fraternal organization.

Morand donates blood as often as she can because her blood type contains antibodies used to help children with leukemia. The 61-year-old decided to offer a kidney to her friend’s niece. Her rare blood type made Morand a perfect match. The transplant coordinator at Bay State Hospital, Mary Ann Kleesburg, told Slosek there is little chance of a rejection.

To prepare for donating her kidney, Morand has taken charge of her health. “I’ve done my exercise in the way of Zumba dancing and chi gong,” she said. She has lost weight and decreased her blood pressure as part of the surgery preparation.

The surgeries are scheduled Jan. 12 at Bay State Hospital in Springfield. Slosek, who lives in Chicopee, has always received her treatment there. Dr. Germain, the resident on duty when she first went to the emergency room with kidney problems at age 3, is now her nephrologist.

Slosek has a strong support system. She trusts her medical care and knows her daughter and new puppy will be safe at home with her husband while she recuperates at her aunt’s home. It is obvious the women have been through a lot together. They can and do finish each other’s thoughts as they talk about events in Slosek’s life.

Slosek’s daughter was born eight years after the successful kidney transplant. “She wasn’t supposed to have one so early,” Cady said. “They induced me for two days,” Slosek said. “But you had a perfect baby,” Cady replied.

Slosek’s daughter, Brianna, 9, could have had her mother’s kidney disease. “She’s perfect. It’s hereditary but no one in my family had it but me. If Brianna has children, it needs to be checked,” Slosek said.

Slosek and Morand are both optimistic about their upcoming operations. Slosek’s successful transplant lasted 15 years. “But mine’s going to last 50 years,” Morand said. Not only that, Slosek should have Morand’s immunity to the chicken pox.

Slosek had one little worry though. After her second operation she developed a taste for broccoli, a food she previously disliked. “Do you like any strange food?” she asked Morand. “I don’t eat sushi,” the donor replied. “Thank goodness,” Slosek said laughing.

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