Kidney Walk Leads to Kidney Donation

Thorne Ambulance_Dec 11Charity walks are great at raising funds and awareness for worthy causes, but rarely do they result in life-saving experiences for their participants.

In many ways, Terry Gerics, 62, of Greenville, was a typical Kidney Walk participant – personally affected by kidney disease and eager to support the fight in her community. When she was 43, Gerics was diagnosed with polycystic kidney disease — a condition that causes cysts to form on the kidneys.

“When I was diagnosed, the doctors told me there would be a transplant in my future,” she said. “I thought they had to be wrong because I was such a healthy person.”

Gerics’ kidneys continued to function until she was 61; that’s when her doctors noticedshe was nearing kidney failure. The reality of her condition sank in. It was then that Gerics decided to volunteer and get personally involved with the National Kidney Foundation.

“I heard about the Upstate Kidney Walk last year, and I knew I had to go,” she said. “I usually never take Saturdays off at work, but this was important.”

While volunteering at the Walk, Gerics wore a simple sign that stated, “Kidney needed; any blood type”. The sign caught the eye of Simpsonville resident Sarah Thorne, 27, who runs Thorne Ambulance Service with her husband. Thorne was also volunteering at the walk and Gerics’ sign struck a chord.

“I know quite a lot about kidney disease because so many of our non-emergency transports are for dialysis patients who have kidney failure. So, I know what this disease can do,” she said. “I also knew that donating a kidney could save a life. I believe my faith led me to Terry. My heart was telling me it was the right thing to do.”

The women exchanged numbers and within the month, Thorne was undergoing tests to donate one of her kidneys.

“I had no hesitations about it, and it went very fast. We were very blessed,” Thorne said. “I filled out prequalification paperwork at the end of April and I was in surgery on May 31st.”

The donation saved Gerics’ life and prevented years of dialysis and a potentially long wait on the transplant list. Gerics is not only grateful, but is eager to pay the good deed forward as she and Thorne walk together at this year’s Upstate Kidney Walk being held at in Amphitheater at Furman University in Greenville, SC on April 21. It will be the anniversary of their fateful meeting.

“Sarah is a remarkable person, and I am so appreciative for who she is,” Gerics said. “Now, I’ve made it my mission to find a kidney for someone else. Give me a name, a picture, and their blood type, and I’ll work hard to change their life the way Sarah changed mine. “Thorne Ambulance


5 thoughts on “Kidney Walk Leads to Kidney Donation

  1. FASCINATING STORY!! In 2012 I decided to join the Atlanta Kidney Walk as a Captain of the Kidneys R’ Us team, Little did I know 6 mths after registering for the walk in March 2013 my youngest brother would recieve the call about a blessing from Emory University advising him they had a kidney for him. This was after 7 years on dialysis and 5 years on the transplant list. His transplant was successful which led us full circle to another blessing at the kidney walk when my brother met his donor’s mother by the grace of GOD! My famlly is extremely thankful and we’re now awaiting another blessing for my other brother who was diagnosed with CKD in July 2011. We’re HOPEFUL and truly believe our prayers will get answered once again. We’ve all become more outgoing in educating others about the triggers that could lead to kidney failure. Just wanted to say KEEP UP THE GREAT WORK TERRY GERICS!!!!!

  2. Beautiful story. I will be walking in an upcoming walk and may take Terry’s idea for my beautiful mother who is in need of a kidney as well…

  3. Most encouraging story! My husband is Stage 5 and in need if a kidney. Although he lost a kidney at age five and has lived with only one kidney for his entire life since. He is in excellent health otherwise! We just learned of his Stage 5 diagnosis and about the probability of dialysis and are prayerful for a transplant!

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