Jackson family has new glimmer of hope with paired kidney program

Kidney swap program helps Jackson family

JACKSON, MO (KFVS) - A Jackson, Missouri woman has been in search of a living kidney donor for almost an entire year. And, while her search continues, Tuesday night she met a total stranger who wants to make her search easier.

"The need for a kidney is urgent. It's become a very urgent situation," said Danielle Deweese, Nikki’s mom. Bellew and her family's hopes have soared to the highest heights and sank to the lowest lows.

Now a total stranger is offering to help. Without ever meeting Nikki, Ashlee Magnuson tested to see if she could be a match. And at first it seemed she was.

“She passed phase one so we got really excited, she passed phase two and we got even more excited and then when she got all the way to almost the end Nikki’s blood was resistant,” said Deweese.

When most people would have given up Deweese said Magnuson didn't.

“But instead when they told her the news. She cried we cried but they told her there was a way she could still help Nikki,” said Deweese.

Magnuson met Nikki for the first time Tuesday and Deweese said the two had an instant connection.

"Nikki would not let her out of her sight the whole night. She has disabilities but she also has abilities and she knew what Ashlee was there to do so I mean it was an instant connection with all of us they’ll be family no matter what happens,” said Deweese.

Deweese told me a lot of people have tried to be living donors for Nikki, but because of her kidney disease and a previous transplant finding a perfect match has been difficult.

"They aren’t going to risk a life to save a life and they are very careful who they accept,” said Deweese.

Now, Nikki is at the top of the national kidney list for a deceased donors.

“We have received two phone calls, made the trip to Barnes Jewish hospital and unfortunately both times we were sent home” said Deweese.

And Magnuson offers a second option. While her kidney isn’t quite right for Nikki she’s signed up for what’s called the paired kidney program.

Through it, the donor can exchange kidneys with another donor/ recipient pair, and that’s giving Nikki and her family a new glimmer of hope.

“What was such a disappointment that she couldn’t give Nikki her kidney now two lives can be saved,” said Deweese.

Deweese wants people to know if you have it in your heart to try and be a donor for Nikki you can by calling 1-866-678-4816 or if you aren’t "O" positive and want to help Nikki you can also be paired with her in the shared kidney program.

Copyright 2019 KFVS. All rights reserved.