21-year-old Harley Lafferty has been dealing with chronic kidney disease the majority of her life. When she was 8-years-old, a simple sports physical revealed the dreaded news.
“There was too much protein in my urine, and I found out that I had Stage 4 kidney failure,” she says.
Harley had to go to a specialist once a month to monitor her health, and by the age of 18, she was put on the list for a kidney transplant.
“Both of my kidneys were only functioning at 18%, and then they dropped to 15% and that was alarming to my doctors. I needed a donor…I need a miracle.”
After waiting for two years for a perfect match, they turned to social media to speed up the donor process. Harley and her family plugged her need on Facebook, and what happened next was quite amazing.
“I come from a small town [Great Valley near Ellicottville, New York] and the response was incredible,” Harley exclaims. “A woman by the name of Michelle, also from Great Valley, whose daughter is close to my age, had seen my post and had applied to be my donor through the hospital,” Harley says. “When we received a message from her that she was going through the process to potentially be my perfect match, we were overwhelmed…we were so grateful.”
Michelle explains her reasoning behind deciding to go through the living donor process, “I thought constantly about her parents and family, not knowing if Harley would find the donor she needed, and I pictured them watching her health failing, so I decided to contact the hospital to help this young woman.”
Shortly after, it was discovered that indeed Michelle was the perfect match – miracle news for Harley and those who love her. Just weeks ago, the lifesaving surgery took place at ECMC in Buffalo.
“Michelle went into the operating room 15-minutes before me, and they prepped her while they also prepped me to receive her kidney. It is incredible how smoothly everything went because Michelle was out of surgery in two hours, and me just four hours.”
Aside from struggles with temporary nausea, Harley is feeling great and doing well. She is hopeful that Michelle’s kidney lasts in her body for the forever future. Down the road she may need another surgery, but for now, her spirits are high.
“Michelle is my hero, truly everything she has done, how do I possibly repay her?”
Harley adds, “Michelle recently texted me saying she will always look at me as another daughter, and that her life is much different now that she worked to save mine.”
It is now Michelle’s mission to preach the need for donors, “Being a live donor never crossed my mind until I saw her Facebook post, but it’s so needed…it saves lives!”