Rushford’s creatinine levels among lowest in transplant history

Rushford’s creatinine levels among lowest in transplant history

By Brandon Reid, Assistant Editor

A recent follow-up exam at the University of Wisconsin at Madison Hospital revealed Angela Rushford, the 5-year-old Rockford girl who underwent a kidney transplant Jan. 3 in attempts to correct a polycystic renal failure, had a 0.01 creatinine (poisons in blood) level, reported to be among the lowest in transplant history.

“She’s doing great,” said David Harper, the 38-year-old Mount Morris man who donated his kidney to Angela. “You should have seen her yesterday [Feb. 9 at a benefit concert for the Rushfords at South Beloit High School] jumping around and running around.”

Rushford is expected to make a full recovery, although she will need immunosuppressive medication for the rest of her life.

Harper donated his kidney to Angela after responding to a free classified ad in The Rock River Times.

Polycystic renal failure is a condition that is rare in young children. Angela had been on a donor list for about six months to no avail before her parents placed the classified ad.

Harper and the Rushfords teamed up to create the Angela Rushford Children’s Organ Donation Fund, unveiled Jan. 15. Harper, fund co-chairman, said contributions to the fund, which has raised $4,800 to date, have been increasing slowly.

“They’re going slowly, but we are accumulating,” Harper said.

Harper said the fund recently received a $600 donation from Wal-Mart in Rochelle, where, over the course of a few weeks, employees were told they could wear jeans to work in return for a $1 contribution to the fund.

The fund, administered by the Community Foundation of Northern Illinois (CFNIL), is distributed to children 16 and younger, and offers financial assistance to help curb the costs of transplants and promotes organ donation.

Harper and the Rushfords are working on another foundation, “Life Through America,” that would work to match potential donors with those in need of a transplant.

“I don’t know what the reception is going to be because people have a big stigmatism toward it [organ donation],” Harper said. “I’m living proof. It’s the best thing I’ve ever done in my life. It’s made me a lot more humble, and I think it’s made me a lot more empathetic to those in need of a transplant.

“It’s not going to devastate your life to give an organ. God gave us two kidneys, and we only need one. There must be a reason for it.”

Contribute to the Angela Rushford Children’s Organ Donation Fund, visit the Community Foundation of Northern Illinois’ (CFNIL) Web site at www.cfnil.org, or call CFNIL’s Annette Skipper at 815-962-2110.

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