When Reginia Piersaul received a phone call May 19, 2003, she didn't know her life was going to change forever. A dear family friend, Emily Jenkins, had passed away in a tragic accident and the sorrow that quickly followed slowly turned to hope as the events unfolded.
Reginia was born with polycystic kidney disease, a hereditary illness, but it wasn't until she gave birth to her daughter that doctors saw the extent of the disease and how it was taking over her kidneys
Yet, she continued to live her life as if she were never sick. She worked for the same family over three generations, traveling with them to other countries, assisting with lavish parties, and caring for the children she called her own. The family adored her.
Unfortunately, as the years passed, reginia's kidneys began shutting down and she relied on dialysis and multiple sureries to keep her alive. By 2003, it became even more important for her to receive a donated kidney.
An accident in New York City on May 19, 2003, left Emily Jenkins, the granddaughter of the family Reginia worked for as a nanny, on life support. Emily's parents, Chris and Qwight Jenkins, decided to donate her organs and knew, without any hesitation, that they wanted Reginia to be one of the recipients. The call was made.
"I just didn't know what to think", said Reginia. "Emily's mother, Chris, said they were going to save me, but I was more concerned about the family and what they were going through."
After tests were performed and Erlanger's Kidney Transplant Center learned that Emily was a perfect match, doctors at Erlanger agreed to continue with the transplant the very next day.
"Emil and God wanted me to have this kidney," said Reginia. "That is why it was a perfect match."
Not only did Emily save Reginia's life that day, but also her lungs, heart, and other kidney were also donated and saved three other lives.
Today,many years after her transplant, Reginia is doing extrmely well. She credits the Kidney Transplant Center and the dialysis center for her exeptional care. "The staff was the best all around," explains Reginia.
Today, Reginia is settling into his retirement. She enjoys spending time with her family and friends, as well as cooking. She still keeps in touch with the Jenkins family and visits them often.
No amount of words can say just how grateful Reginia is. "They just don't know how much I appreciate and love them."
Four years of kidney dialysis treatments left Felix Espinoza feeling sick and weak. “It was really bad,” recalls the Cleveland, Tenn., resident. Then his youngest son, Miguel, 24, stepped up to donate a kidney to his father. The decision, according to the younger Espinoza, was not difficult. “He gave me life,” says Miguel. Adds Felix: “He liked to do it because he loves me.”
In April 2006, Miguel Espinoza of Ooltewah underwent a new, less invasive laparoscopic kidney removal at the Erlanger Kidney Transplant Center, and his father immediately received the new kidney. The Espinozas recovered in hospital rooms across the hall from one another, continuing the circle of life that began six months earlier with the birth of Emilio, Miguel’s son and Felix’s grandson, at the Erlanger Baroness Campus