April 10, 2019
Lauren Lowndes always knew she wanted to be a teacher, even after coming back to it after a detour in the culinary arts.
Now, she can teach her current and former students more than a typical kindergarten lesson. On Friday, March 29, she continued to spread a message of life, hope and healing.
A health fair at Belvedere Elementary School featured Lauren and other booths to speak with family and students about healthy living and organ, tissue and eye donation.
Lauren’s recent living kidney donation to her sister inspired the event.
Lauren’s sister received a lupus diagnosis in high school. It’s an autoimmune disease that causes the body’s immune system to attack healthy tissues. It can affect the kidneys, heart and lungs.
The initial diagnosis took doctors a long time to understand. Then, Lauren said, the diagnosis switched to pulmonary hypertension from years of medication.
“She needed this sooner rather than later”
In May 2018, Lisa’s kidney function was low. She received dialysis three times a week while trying to keep up with her job.
So, Lauren took it upon herself to begin the process for living kidney donation through Nebraska Medicine. She filled out paperwork and started the initial medical tests hoping she would be a match for her sister.
“It was a whirlwind,” Lauren said. “Within three weeks they had finished the testing and I found out I was a candidate. Her heart had deteriorated even more, so she needed this sooner rather than later by then.”
Lauren believes her living donation is something anyone would do. But her coworkers believe her choice was extraordinary rather than a simple decision.
“Lauren loves her family very much, so when I learned that she was going to be a living donor for her sister, I was not surprised,” said one of Lauren’s coworkers, Patricia Frazier. “She’s been a source of emotional support for her sister as well. Her and her sister truly a bond that is greater now more than ever. It’s been remarkable to watch an unselfish act of love that gives another person a second chance at life!”
Cheri Cairncross added: “When I asked her about it, she just seemed like she didn’t even hesitate when she found out she was a match.”