save mitchell

donate a kidney, a dollar, or a prayer for hope & healing

Be a Hero ~ video

The Save Mitchell “Be a Hero” Facebook image circulating online has been turned into a complementary video. Please take two minutes to watch, then share, and spread the word.

Three dollars to help save a very special life.

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Facebook Campaign to Save Mitchell.

Facebook Campaign to Save Mitchell.

About one month ago, Mitchell’s bloodwork started showing red flags. It turns out that antibodies are building up against his new kidney (a “foreign object”). His medical team has been working around the clock to find answers and take measures to turn this situation around, ASAP.

Insurance didn’t come through on the medicine Mitchell needs to save his life and protect his transplanted kidney, so for now…he’ll go back to receiving Plasmapheresis treatments to ward off the kidney antibodies. We can make a difference by making a small donation among a community that cares to get him the medicine he needs. Please pay it forward and spread some light for Hope.

http://www.savemitchell.com/donate-a-dollar

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Saving grace.

Mrs. Lyne: Mitchell is the sickest he’s ever been.

Mary Beth: Wait, you mean, even dating back 11 years…to when he was 8-years-old and needed his first kidney transplant?

Mrs. Lyne: Yes.

That dialogue practically took my breath away.

But, but…how could this be? We just saw him posing in a tuxedo, looking super sharp, for his senior prom. And then standing next to his Grand Daddy on high school graduation, smiling bright. How could he be that sick?

When his potassium and hemoglobin levels dropped last week, the poor fella had to have two blood transfusions. Blood work results came back today, and while the potassium is up a bit, he has not been able to eat *any* food. So hopefully prednisone will do the trick, help the organ inflamation go down, and ultimately help him hold solid food down.

Today was a whirlwind. As his Mother recounted the details to me, I was out of breath just listening to the story. In short, Mitchell’s team of doctors changed their mind a few times. One moment the plan would be to stay put, take the meds, and watch what happens. Another moment, he was ordered to go to the hospital “within the hour” for a possible surgery, and the next…they’re told a living kidney donor has come forward.

A sweet, selfless soul has stepped up to the plate to donate their kidney; this person doesn’t even know Mitchell but is a friend of a friend of a friend. This person doesn’t match Mitchell, so has offered to donate their kidney to a stranger on the waiting list {this is known as an altruistic donation}. By doing so, Mitchell is automatically bumped up to the #1 spot on the kidney waiting list.

This is HUGE. Really, really big news. But he won’t be completely out of the woods yet. You see, because of his complex situation, it will take a very unique kidney to be compatible with his system. Regardless though…putting him at the tippy top could literally be a life saver. A saving grace.

Another insight that put things into perspective was when Mrs. Lyne said the doctor said they’ll let him have a cadaver kidney from a deceased donor. Originally this wasn’t permitted because of Mitchell’s sensitive case {living organs last longer than cadaver organs — and the more transplants you have, the harder it is to make them successful}, but evidently because he is not doing well, the medical team’s point of view is, “we’ll do whatever we need to do to save his life.”

So please keep Mitchell in your thoughts and prayers. Send him your love and support. And as always, consider donating through a dollar, getting tested to be a kidney donor, delivering dinner to the family, or purchasing a SAVE MITCHELL t-shirt. Tomorrow is never guaranteed for any of us, so live today to the fullest.

Much love,

Mary Beth

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Savemitchell.com shirts sold!

We’ve sold not one but TWO batches of SaveMitchell.com t-shirts. Each one costs $25 ~ $15 goes directly to helping keep our brave hero alive. What a great idea ~ you donate to dialysis supplies that helps Mitchell wake up each morning as he waits for a kidney donor, and you also get a fashionable, comfortable t-shirt.

How it works: Our fund must sell 50 shirts in 50 days for the fundraiser to be completed. Once we hit # 50, credit cards are charged, shirts are printed, then shipped to those who purchased. The clock resets and the whole process starts over.

To date, due to this initiative, we’ve donated $1,500! Let’s keep it going, and keep hope alive.

Get your own t-shirt by clicking here, or gift one to a person you love in honor of Mitchell.

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Fundraiser for Mitchell

An awesome company, Bonfire Funds, has partnered with SaveMitchell.com to launch a fundraiser.

It’s super simple.

People purchase a t-shirt for $25; $15 goes directly to the SaveMitchell.com fund which helps offset his medical expenses. But here’s the catch…we must sell 50 shirts within 50 days. If we don’t reach that goal, then nothing happens. But if & when we do reach our goal, then everyone who placed an order will have a t-shirt shipped to them, credit card will be charged, and a total of $750.00 will be donated to Mitchell Lyne to help keep him alive!

Sure, insurance and Medicaid pay for some of the healthcare costs (while dishing out headaches)…but certainly not all of it.

And then there are the everyday costs that add up over time.

An example is the amount of paper towels & trash bags that are used up due to his dialysis treatments & cleanings. Mitchell’s Mom goes through an entire roll of PT daily, which in turn fills up an entire bag of trash. If you do the math, that is $7.49 for a 6-pack of Bounty paper towels & $5.00 for a 30-pack of trash bags, or over $35 per month.

And let’s not forget the cost of gas these days…to & from doctor’s appointments, dialysis clinic check-ins, trips to the grocery store and pharmacy to fill prescriptions. The expenses are hard for anyone to keep up with, let alone a family who has dedicated every minute of every day to keep their son alive.

So please consider paying it forward and purchase a t-shirt. And let’s be very clear…this isn’t any ol’ shirt that festivals hand out as freebees. The “Cotton Ringspun Fashion Fit Tee” is high-quality material, fits like a glove, and is super comfy. You do have the option to purchase a standard (boring) “Cotton Basic Tee” but it’s the same price so why not get the best bang for your buck donation!?

Click here & Visit the site now, time is running out.

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Little miracles

Taking showers. Going for a run. Enjoying my favorite meal with an abundant appetite. Sleeping in my bed, in any position I choose. Going to work/school/social activities as I please. Having a comfortable full night’s rest. Hitting the gym. Fending for myself without thinking twice.

I can’t help but appreciate all of these ‘luxuries’ — also known as everyday activities — that are at my disposal. Yet, Mitchell’s current reality is far from mine.

  • He can’t hop under hot water for a full body cleanse — the catheter healing for dialysis treatments to begin soon doesn’t permit a traditional shower for one whole month.
  • Devouring a delicious dinner to his heart’s desire isn’t necessarily possible. The countless medications, procedure side effects, and unpredictability in appetite on any given day — make the basic function of eating an indefinite: TBD.
  • Slipping into an eight-hour sleep, in the comfort of his bed, is a distance memory. Instead, the sofa chair is his place of rest; usually his Mother is within arm’s reach.

Every single morning I start my prayers by thanking God for blessings — the simple ones — my five senses, my working limbs, my mental, emotional & physical health, my education and employment. Access to clean, running water.

These days, Mitchell inevitably pops into my mind at some point during the dialogue of gratitude, and I think how lucky I am to have it pretty darn easy.

As I’m slowly starting to understand the daily grind of Mitchell’s life, it forces me to reflect on how effortless it is to take common, expected ‘luxuries’ for granted.

The people closest to him never speak his name without commenting on Mitchell’s resiliency and quiet strength. “He never complains, ever” — which makes me think he isn’t human. How could someone in his condition not peep a problem? But the thing is, he is human, a very special human who accepts his uphill road with a grandiose amount of grace.

Because my Monday through Friday appears vastly easier than his, the moment his Mother mentioned how much Mitchell enjoys watching VCU {the local university} basketball games, I knew he had to attend one, stat. For one, the last game of the season was only a few days away. Additionally…he hasn’t been able to snag tickets because every single home game is sold out, due to the rise in popularity from last season’s Final Four run. Now all we needed was a little magic.

With a few strokes of the keyboard & putting a call out to the masses, a kind soul named Cindy offered to secure two tickets for the fan and a guest {by default, Mitchell’s Mom selflessly selected his Dad} — courtesy of the Associate Coach Mike Rhoades who is a friend of a friend. Then another kind soul who came across my call-for-action, Tom, stepped up to the plate with the equivalent of a big black and yellow bow.

He said, “My Mom works at the hospital transplant unit, I think she knows Mitchell. She’d like to help do something special.” Twenty-four hours later he rang my phone to announce, “She made some phone calls and arranged to have Mitchell meet the VCU basketball team before the game. We’re also getting a ball signed with the players’ signatures.” To top it off, VCU managed to get his Mom a ticket too, so now the whole family can be together.

My wish is that tonight, if even for a few minutes or a few hours, Mitchell is able to enjoy himself and not focus on his body’s fight over the last decade. He can act his age, have fun cheering on a live sports game, and make memories that he actually wants to remember.

Life is stuffed with light & love. And if you pay close enough attention, little miracles.

Much love,

Mary Beth

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Going the extra mile

Mitchell had it pretty rough the last week & a half. “When it rains, it pours” was evidently the theme.

First, the surgery to have a dialysis port inserted into his abdomen was painful, as expected. But then he suffered from severe pain in his shoulder (air got in during surgery)…and the heating pad to help alleviate the discomfort ultimately caused 2nd degree burns!

Thankfully he received some medication to help heal burn inflamation, and the port wound is getting better too.

He is slated to begin receiving dialysis treatments on March 12. In the meantime, the family karts back and forth to the dialysis center every week. Once 3/12 rolls around, the Lyne’s will be trained at the center for one week… to eventually give the treatments at home.

Today was particularly hard because a relentless headache, which started yesterday, wouldn’t budge. He asked for over-the-counter medication for some relief. To give you some context, he has had about 6 Tylenol pills in his entire life. In other words, he is naturally tough and never complains. Hopefully Mitchell will feel better soon!

It didn’t even occur to me until talking to his Mom that the rising gas prices must put a huge dent on their wallets. It is 50 miles roundtrip to the dialysis center, and over 20 miles to the hospital for check-ups. Add that all together and we’re talking hundreds of dollars.

If you’d like to contribute any amount of money to help offset the expenses of commuting trip gas (rising 20 more cents per gallon by this weekend), please click here for an easy PayPal Donation. If you don’t already have a PayPal account, it’s free and simple to create one.

The Lyne family have not asked for anything other than prayers, but sometimes… going the extra mile involves giving in more ways than one. In this case ~ gasoline.

Much love,

Mary Beth

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Paying it forward

Mitchell had an operation on Monday to have a port inserted into his abdomen. He will begin dialysis in the next 2-4 weeks, depending on how quickly the wound heals.

If that alone isn’t tough enough, he inadvertently had even more complications to endure — air got trapped during surgery which caused severe pain in his shoulder. Then… a heating pad to help with the pain ended up burning him.

His guardian angel on earth, also known as his Mother, took Mitchell to the ER and we’re thrilled to share that he is finally feeling better today. It should take 2-3 weeks, with wound care, for the burns to heal.

 ∞

Meanwhile, there is an incredible story of selfless donor heros in this Sunday’s New York Times newspaper. Sixty people and 30 kidneys are all linked through the gift of life.

“It is considered a quirk of evolution that humans have two kidneys when they need only one to filter waste and remove excess fluid from the body. Yet when kidneys fail, whether from diabetes or high blood pressure or genetic disorders, they tend to fail in tandem.

Death can arrive in a matter of weeks for many renal patients if they do not have their blood cleansed through dialysis. The process takes almost four hours, three times a week, and leaves many too drained to work. Only half of dialysis patients survive more than three years.”

This isn’t Mitchell’s first rodeo; he has experienced dialysis before. If there could be a silver lining uncovered in this difficult circumstance, it would be that his family will be trained to give treatments at home. The ability to stay in and not have to travel back & forth to the hospital several times a week is an invaluable gift of time.

He didn’t respond well to hemodialysis in the past.

So this time he will receive PD {peritoneal dialysis}.

In the spirit of paying it forward, if you would like to do so for the Lyne family, there are several options:

  • Contact the MCV organ swap coordinator and get tested as a kidney donor for Mitchell. Click here for more information.
  • Make a monetary donation to help offset the extraordinary amount of medications, many of which are not covered by insurance. Click here for more information.
  • Volunteer to make homemade dinners or have takeout meals delivered to the Lyne residence. Email marybeththomsen@hotmail.com for more information on coordinating & scheduling dates.

Much love,

Mary Beth

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Benevolence

| be·nev·o·lence |

noun

1. desire to do good to others; goodwill; charitableness: to be filled with benevolence toward one’s fellow creatures.
2. an act of kindness; a charitable gift.

I scrolled through 120 blog themes in an attempt to visually portray the purpose of this platform — to save Mitchell Lyne. More on this warrior to be reckoned with in upcoming posts.

One blog theme was titled: Benevolence. Although it isn’t the design I ultimately chose, the word’s meaning seeped into my pours. You see, I’m part of a human species that has no choice but to help others in need. That attribute is solely derived from God. He made me this way and I own it, for better or for worse.

I am what some might call a spiritual person. Yes I was raised Christian and this denomination makes up the majority of my faith’s DNA, but my heart most resonates with practicing The Golden Rule {treat others how you would like to be treated}. As the Dalai Lama said, “My religion is simple. My religion is kindness.”

In 2001, my college days in Richmond, Virginia were coming to a close and graduation day was fast approaching. However a sorority sister, Stacey, had much more on her plate than job interviews and finals. Stacey donated a kidney to her younger brother, Mitchell. He was only 8-years-old at the time. Our sisterhood chapter organized fundraisers for their family and rallied around in support. To the best of my knowledge, the surgery was a success and everyone would live happily ever after.
Time passed and the social media network Facebook exploded, which essentially fosters online reunions and put me back in touch with Stacey. I would have categorized her in the ‘acquaintances’ folder. We were friendly in passing & saw each other at mutual friends’ bridal/baby showers. Then to my surprise, a few years ago, her status update said that Mitchell needed a new kidney. By the time I learned my blood type after donating a pint to the Red Cross, A Positive – a compatible type, another donor had come forward and matched Mitchell. I silently decided to get tested, but never had the opportunity.

Once again, I figured the organ’s new home was safe & sound. The end.

But everything wasn’t OK. I didn’t understand why exactly, but felt terrible for his family and for the young boy who endured so many scalpels before graduating high school.

Last spring, without telling anyone except for Stacey and a few close friends, I went to the hospital to see if I could help. God told me to. Not in a whisper, not as a subtle suggestion, nor as a possible consideration. Nope — it was an adamant directive. My heart was heavy with His call-to-action and there was no ignoring, or, questioning it. Others would later ask, “But, but, you don’t even know him?” “But, but, you aren’t even that close with Stacey?” “But, but….what if ___?” On the drive over to the hospital lab that morning, I prayed, hard. I asked God to help navigate this somewhat scary and unknown world of kidney donations.

“I leave this outcome entirely in Your hands. If this is meant to be, You will see to it that I’m a match. Selflishly, Lord, I kinda don’t want to match, because then that would mean I have to actually deal with a surgery…and who knows what else. But seriously, I trust You — I do, and will handle the outcome however this plays out. Amen.”
A few days later the donor coordinator called and said, “The doctors can’t believe it, you appear to be a match! They’re scratching their heads at how close the results were.” She continued, “The criteria for matches is very strict since we’re being extra picky this (third) time. You need to come back and have more blood work drawn, we’ll now literally crossmatch your bloods on top of each other and see how they react.”

I knew it, I just knew it. God had a plan after all and I’m glad I was quiet enough to listen to, and hear Him.

After my second batch of testing, the coordinator’s next call wasn’t as positive as the first. Our bloods didn’t like each other after all. I was extremely confused, totally dumbfounded.

“How could this be? God, what was this all for? You put it on my heart to get tested, remember?”
I could have sworn that it was written, as they say, that I was meant to be a match. Ultimately I rationalized that my involvement was to help the family know that there are people out there willing to help, and keep their hope alive.

The experience also became an exercise for my boyfriend and I to have very serious discussions about us, our future, and practice clear communication about delicate subjects.

Nine months passed and I eventually moved cities, started working for Johns Hopkins Medicine on their marketing team, and thought the Mitchell files were closed. But then a few short weeks after relocating, my phone rang. It was the hospital coordinator asking if I was still interested in donating. “It’s a kidney swap situation. Another person in need of a kidney has a loved one who matches with Mitchell. Now we need to find a kidney for that person.”

My head was shaking — this was it. God wanted me to help save two lives, not just one. Ok, I get it now.

In the meantime, before receiving the kidney swap scenario call, I learned a tremendous amount of clinical information on the kidney, living donations, the surgery, and long-term impacts on a living donor {which are basically none, people can live a normal, full lifespan with only one kidney}. As fate would have it, one of my service lines at Hopkins is….the transplant department. The first project assigned to me had to do with incompatible transplant from living donors.

Really? Come on. As they say, God certainly has a sense of humor.

I was also intimately familiar with kidney swaps because as it turns out, Hopkins is the first hospital that performed a “domino” tranplant – six people to be exact – and I had just watched a video about it the very same week.

Today, February 13, Mitchell was wheeled into the OR to have a port placed in his abdomen. He needs to start dialysis. This is such a blessing and such a curse. The treatment keeps him alive and that is magnificent. But the curse is that it means he doesn’t have the kidney swap in place to proceed with a transplant.

On Wednesday I’m going to the Hopkins testing lab to have blood drawn and see if I match with the recipient-in-waiting down in central Virginia. I don’t know much about her except for the fact she’s in her twenties, has never had a transplant, is also on dialysis, and has someone who loves her enough to give up his/her kidney to a stranger — Mitchell. If I’m not a match for her, then this web site is my second best gift ~ a place to advocate and give him and his family a voice.

Please keep these two courageous souls in your thoughts and prayers as they wait and hold onto hope.

This online community is a place to champion for and support Mitchell. We’ll share stories about his life, his fight, his progress, and hopefully, his new kidney. Oh – and – in case you’re interested, the name of this blog design is Brand New Day…which is what I hope Mitchell will be granted for many years to come.

Much love,
Mary Beth

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