Gina Micheli and Ira Hadnot needed each other and might not have met except Ira wanted a kidney and Gina wanted to be a donor. The two women were connected when a co-worker and potential donor was found to be an incompatible match.
When Micheli, facilities manager at The Wisconsin Humane Society, learned of Ira’s plight from Kelvin Hadnot, she volunteered her kidney. The waiting will end October 6, 2022 with transplant surgery at Aurora St. Luke’s Hospital.
“Gina’s generous gift will greatly improve the quality and length of my life,” said Hadnot, a retired journalist. “I was becoming discouraged with the waiting and the multiple medical procedures,” said Hadnot. She was on a waiting list for seven years after being diagnosed with end stage renal disease and undergoing dialysis while living and working in Dallas, TX.
Six years ago, she and her husband Darrell Alexander decided to return home because “I knew I would need a lot more support. My youngest sister had all kinds of complications with the disease before she died in 2017.” Obtaining a donor is difficult because the demand is greater than the supply of available kidneys, said Hadnot, adding she had become “an armchair expert.” Other factors include race, age, income and the way kidneys are distributed.
“Multiple studies have shown a racial disparity in kidney transplantation,” said Hadnot who is African American. “Blacks have a higher rate of kidney failure but a lower rate of deceased or living donor transplant surgeries than whites. Even when you take education, income, family medical history and age into account, the disparity does not disappear.” Hadnot said: “Kidneys are colorblind. We need donors of all races to be as selfless and caring for other human beings as Gina Micheli. I am so grateful. Not only do I get the gift of life but a new best friend who inspires me to find ways to help others.” Micheli became motivated to become a kidney donor in 2004 while watching a rerun of a “Law & Order” episode.
Timing was never quite right for Micheli to donate because of her own financial situations, work life and other issues. It wasn’t until she and Kelvin Hadnot started working together that she learned of his sister Ira’s dialysis.
“Just about a year ago when Ira suffered a major complication, I was finally in a position to take that step to become a living donor.
“Thankfully, we were a match,” added Hadnot.