While Tana’e E. Sands’ sacrifice involved one of her kidneys, it’s a story that tugs at the heart.
Her mother, Cammie Clayton, discovered that a childhood friend found herself in a medical crisis. Michelle Borrego, who lives in Texas, was diagnosed with Berger’s disease and needed a kidney transplant.
Under this condition, an antibody called immunoglobulin A builds up in the kidneys, according to information from the Mayo Clinic. This causes inflammation and disrupts the organ’s ability to filter waste from the bloodstream.
Mrs. Borrego was at 5 percent kidney function. She had to receive peritoneal dialysis, which took up more than 9 hours of her time each day.
Ms. Clayton saw that her friend’s daughters posted on Facebook a notice that Mrs. Borrego needed a kidney. She couldn’t donate one of her organs because of injuries she sustained in 2011 car accident.
Even though she thought the request would be rejected, Ms. Clayton decided to ask her daughter if she could help. Amazingly, Mrs. Sands agreed to participate.
The 32-year-old wife of a Fort Drum soldier, Mrs. Sands had herself tested to determine if she and Mrs. Borrego were a match. But surgery would have to wait.
Mrs. Sands was pregnant at the time, and the procedure would occur about two months after she gave birth. She underwent 3½ hours of surgery July 2 in Dallas.
“She absolutely saved my life,” Mrs. Borrego said, according to a story published Oct. 9 in the Watertown Daily Times. “It’s absolutely mind-boggling just the fact that she would just try to be a match, especially that she was pregnant.”
Earlier this month, Mrs. Sands received the Patriot Civil Service Award. She was one of 35 civilians and soldiers associated with the 2nd Battalion, 15th Field Artillery regimen who were honored for their volunteer work.
Among others involved with the event, Mrs. Sands stood out. Col. Michael Englis, who put on the luncheon, reflected the overall sentiment.
“We give our time,” he said. “She gave a body part.”
It’s extraordinary that someone would be willing to donate an organ to a stranger in need. Of course, these two women are now quite close.
“She’s my second mom,” Mrs. Sands said.
Her compassion meant that her mother’s friend that could resume her normal daily life. Mrs. Borrego is a 54-year-old nurse, so she understands the value of having a support network when health care emergencies occur.
Naturally, Ms. Clayton is very proud of her daughter.
“It goes to show you that there’s still good on this Earth,” she said.
This is a wonderful story of selflessness. It reflects well on Mrs. Sands, her family and the Fort Drum community. What she did created a stronger bond between two longtime friends and serves as an inspiration for others.
It also reminds us of the numerous people who have similar medical needs. Now, not everyone will be eager to donate one of their organs. But there are measures most of us can take to help out.
People should volunteer to donate their organs once they die. Tell families members about this decision and sign the necessary documents.
Individuals also should consider having themselves tested to see if they can donate bone marrow. And be on the lookout for opportunities to give blood — there is always a need for this.
Mrs. Sands is a true role model. She demonstrated that we all can do something to alleviate suffering.