A local schoolteacher has begun a campaign to help her ill friend find a live kidney donor.
Inistioge-based artist Laima Chevedukiene is battling kidney failure. She spends nine hours every night connected to a dialysis machine, which literally keeps her alive.
It is an exhaustive and often painful process, and limits the 53-year-old in all her daily decisions. She has been on the waiting list for a transplant for the past four years.
Her friend, secondary school teacher Annette Ashe, is determined to help her dream of a return to a normal life. She says Laima is one of the strongest people she has ever met.
“As a close friend, I am as desperate as she is at this stage to find a donor,” says Annette.
“The waiting list is daunting, and some of her friends and family have come forward offering to donate a kidney to Laima. Unfortunately, none of these to date has been deemed compatible and no suitable candidate and yet come forward.”
Laima, who is originally from Lithuania, focuses on her passion for art to take her mind off her situation. She is renowned in the village and around the county for her work.
Much of her work is inspired by the beautiful scenery of Inistioge, or by floral or mystical themes and everyday situations. In previous years, she has exhibited and displayed work at various locations in Kilkenny.
“It reminds me that there is a world of beauty and wonderful opportunity out there, where freedom from pain and this oppressive grind I must endure is again possible, and I yearn to rejoin that world,” says Laima.
Meanwhile, Annette continues in her campaign to find a live kidney donor – or any help – to improve her friend’s life.
“I just wonder is there anyone out there who can offer ideas or advice to Laima as she waits for a donor,” she says.
“Has any reader heard of, or been in this situation? We need to highlight the plight of Laima and people like her to encourage people to realise that live donors can lead a perfectly healthy life with one kidney. From my heart I ask, is there anyone out there who can help Laima?”
If anyone wants to consider a live kidney donation, they can contact Annette at 086-2094248. Information on kidney donations can be accessed on the Irish Kidney Association website at www.ika.ie.