‘I will give you my kidney!’
Barbara and Pattie met while attending North Carolina Central University many years ago. Having both returned to Durham after retirement, they reconnected at church and through NCCU Alumni. When Barbara became sick and needed a kidney transplant, Pattie approached her at church and said “I will give you my kidney!”
It took Barbara four days to call Pattie on the phone. Pattie had not changed her mind and was serious -- if she was a match she would donate her kidney to Barbara. After nine months on dialysis, Barbara Fields Hibbert received Pattie Baskette’s kidney on Nov. 16, 2004, at UNC Healthcare Transplant Center, through living donation. Now, 10 years later, at the age of 72, both Pattie and Barbara are living life and excited to tell their story!
Barbara explains that her kidney transplant has extended her life, re-energized her, and enabled her to be active and live a quality life. Barbara had managed her hypertension with medicine for years, however, acute kidney failure came about very suddenly. “Prevention needs to be part of the education and outreach,” said Barbara. “People need to know how to take care of themselves, pay attention to their health and ask questions.“
This experience has led to sharing more than college, faith, and a kidney. Barbara and Pattie share their journey with family, friends, their church, and the public. For Barbara and Pattie their story needs to be told to encourage others to become organ donors and to fill in the education gap that exists. Barbara shared that she did not know anything about the dialysis treatment process and little about organ donation before she found herself in need of an organ. By closing this gap, you remove the hesitation to register as a donor. When asked what she would tell someone who is considering to be a donor, Pattie quickly responded “Just do it!” Pattie worked as a hemodynamic technician at the Westchester Medical Center in Valhalla, New York, and was familiar with donation. She had no fear agreeing to be a living donor.
Today in the United States, over 122,000 people are awaiting a transplant, of which more than 100,000 are waiting for a kidney transplant. Barbara and Pattie share their story in hopes of helping someone. This includes helping Barbara’s 29 year old niece, Courtney Fields, suffering from lupus and currently on dialysis awaiting a kidney transplant. This September, White Rock Baptist Church in Durham will host Organ Transplant Day. You are sure to find Barbara and Pattie sharing their story there!
Tammy Dunne is program manager for Donate Life North Carolina.