Prestonsburg woman has 90 days to find kidney donor

Aaron K. Nelson anelson@civitasmedia.com

June 26, 2014

PRESTONSBURG — A former schoolteacher and devout Christian, Cynthia Allen has been praying for an angel for eight years.

Allen, who spent 20 years loving her job as a preschool teacher at Betsy Layne Elementary, was forced to give up her work due to her illness. That illness has progressively worsened, and now, doctors are telling her she has only 90 days to find a kidney donor.

“There have been several times I’ve been knocking at death’s door,” Allen says over the beep of her dialysis machine. “My family has been told several times now that I wasn’t going to make it, and God just seems to have a plan.”

Her son’s college graduation and possible grandchildren are just some of the milestones Allen says she wants to live to see.

Her rare type B blood means that, on an average waiting list, it could be five to seven years before the right donor comes along—time that she doesn’t have. Doctors say that by that time, her health would have deteriorated to the point that she likely would not survive the surgery.

However, Allen says that an exciting new program has greatly increased her chances of finding the life-saving donation she greatly needs. She says that through an exchange program, she could find a donor for a kidney that does not match her needs, but would suit someone else. For bringing a new donor into the exchange pool, she should be able to receive a matching kidney within just a year.

Doctors predict this time frame means she could safely receive the transplant, but to make it work, she needs to find a donor within 90 days. Whether that donor matches her does not matter, given the nature of the exchange program.

Allen says her insurance would cover the trip, the lodging, and the medical expenses involved with donating a kidney—all she needs is one brave person to step forward. Anyone interested in learning more can call her transplant coordinator at Ohio State University at (614) 293-6745.