Search for a Donor: Kidney Transplant Needed for Woman with Williams Syndrome

The process of an organ transplant is a long one, and I’m not just talking about the procedure itself. For many patients, the majority of the time is spent waiting to find an eligible donor or organ. Holly Jernigan knows this process all too well; she’s currently waiting to find a living donor to provide a kidney.

Holly’s Story and a Search for a Donor

Holly was born with Williams syndrome, which for her, also meant being born with one kidney. While this had been manageable at the beginning of her life, the organ declined over the course of numerous years until her kidney function sat at 9%. This means that she needs a kidney transplant.

Her other treatment option is dialysis, which does not offer the same outcomes in terms of kidney function. Additionally, it would be extremely time-consuming and bring restrictions to Holly’s life. So she and her family traveled to the Mayo Clinic’s Transplant Center back in 2020, where she was deemed eligible. Right after, she was placed on the National Transplant waiting list. Unfortunately, this list holds about 100,000 names, and patients sit on it for an average of 3 to 5 years.

This is why the Jernigan’s are looking for a live donor. If you’re interested in applying to be a live donor, or you just want to learn more about the process in general, head to the National Kidney Foundation’s page.

Applying to be a live donor is a heroic feat. Even if you are not a match for Holly, there are so many other people out there waiting for the call that their match has been found.

Want to read more about Holly’s story? You can find it here.

What is Williams Syndrome?

We know that Williams syndrome can impact the kidneys, but what is it? Williams syndrome is a rare, genetic disorder characterized growth delays and mental deficiency. Other symptoms include ADD, anxiety, issues with visual-spacial tasks, dental problems, phobias, supravalvular aortic stenosis (SVAS), short stature, and characteristic facial features such as full cheeks and a broad forehead. Medical professionals suspect that a genetic mutation on chromosome 7 is the cause of this condition, and most cases are the result of a sporadic mutation. In terms of treatment, there is no cure; it is aimed at the symptoms present in each affected individual.

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