Cougs fans step up to help alum still in need of kidney donor

Nov 27, 2018, 12:06 PM | Updated: 12:14 pm

In July of 2017, I shared the story of Cindy Meyer, who was in kidney failure and hoping to avoid dialysis through a kidney transplant.

Cindy is the sister of one our sales account executives at KIRO Radio, which is how I found out about her story.

Today, that kidney donor has not yet been found. And this past July — a year after our initial story — Cindy did have to go on at-home dialysis. I spoke to her about her health today.

“My filtration for my kidneys went down to nine percent and so at that time we decided to go ahead and do the surgery to put the catheter into my stomach, and I’ve been doing dialysis ever since,” Cindy said.

She spends about eight hours every night hooked up to this dialysis machine. She has to in order to stay alive as she waits for a donor. As a reminder, it’s really hard to find a kidney donor for Cindy. Not only is her blood type O — she also has a rare blood sensitivity that would cause her body to reject most donations. Only about one percent of the population would be a match for her.

But she and her family remain undeterred. Chalk it up to many of them, Cindy included, being Washington State University alumni. The Pullman school’s hearty fan base is certainly the picture of hope and faith – sticking with their school and teams through thick and thin. Why wouldn’t they take the same stance on Cindy’s kidney failure?

Maybe that’s why a few weeks back it occurred to Cindy’s family to tell her story on the Die Hard Cougs Facebook fan page. Cindy was at her sister’s house watching a WSU football game when the time came to hook up to dialysis. Rather than miss the game, she brought a portable TV with her to a separate room, a picture of dedication to both health and the Cougs.

Cindy’s sister snapped a couple of pictures of this scene and Cindy’s daughter posted them to the Coug-centric Facebook fan group.

“It went crazy viral. We had over 650 ‘likes’ to the [post], we had 116 comments and I’ve had over 20 amazing Cougs supporting Cougs reaching out and wanting to test for me,” Cindy said.

I spoke to some of those potential donors. Autumn Lamb is all the way in Ohio. She’s not a Coug, but her friend is.

“A friend of mine shared [Cindy’s] sister’s post. So basically she’s a friend of a friend. The friend of mine that posted it — we were friend since elementary school — and I just completely trust her and know she wouldn’t share something if it wasn’t legit,” Autumn said.

I asked Autumn how one prepares themselves to possibly give a body part to a stranger.

“Because she does have such a high percentage rate of potential rejection from her body – to me that just seems like a faith thing that if I’m supposed to be that donor for her then all of those details would work out,” Autumn said.

There’s also Julianne Chandler in Portland, who said this was the second time she’s come across Cindy’s story on Facebook.

“The first time I saw it I had just had a baby and I knew I was O blood type, but I’d just had a baby so everything was scrambled,” Julianna said with a chuckle. “But this time I was like ‘oh yeah I totally forgot about that,’ so I figured my husband and I are both O blood type, so I sent her a message and figured I’d just see where it went.”

Julianne and her husband are going to get tested for Cindy. For Julianne, it seems, giving a kidney is as easy as the give a penny take a penny expression.

“It doesn’t worry me at all. I just hope there’s a match somewhere and if it happens to be me I would gladly give something, you know? If it was my child I would hope that somebody would step up and help so I don’t have any fear about it. Just kind of do what you gotta do,” Julianna said.

That’s the power of the Washington State University Cougar community.

Cindy says despite the hard year-and-a-half since we last spoke, she is not losing hope.

“It’s a numbers game for me, so the more people that test I know the closer I am to finding that donor. But it just goes to show you that we Cougs stick together. I never thought I would get any kind of a response like this, but it’s been absolutely incredible,” Cindy said.

Cindy says her insurance covers the cost of testing if you’re interested in trying out. You can email me at [email protected] for her contact information.

Colleen OBrien

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Cougs fans step up to help alum still in need of kidney donor