Just days before Christmas, a local mother is preparing to give her daughter a gift that is priceless.
Kai Jackson explains that for the second time, she’s giving her the gift of life.
Jamie Conway and her mother Valerie Eigner are getting ready for a special day. On Thursday, Valerie is giving Jamie one of her kidneys.
“My mom was a match for me, so I’m getting one of her kidneys,” said Jamie.
Jamie is getting it in the nick of time. She has lupus, an auto-immune disease that attacks the body. In her case, it’s worn down her joints and kidneys.
Since February, Jamie’s been on a grueling schedule of working 40 hours a week and going to dialysis nine hours a week.
“I’ve seen a lot of what she’s going through, and at times wish I could change places with her and take that burden from her,” Eigner said. “I’ve lived my life at this point very well, and she has a lot more living to do.”
After watching her daughter struggle, Eigner volunteered to give her a kidney. Testing determined she was a match.
“She’s always very giving,” Jamie said.
Jamie is 30 and has been married to husband Brian Conway for six years. They conveniently live across the street from her parents.
The family’s Christmas wish is simply to have Jamie healthy and Valerie recover.
Doctors say there’s a risk for both recipient and the donor.
“We never ever want to think of hurting one person trying to help someone else out,” said Dr. Matthew Cooper, transplant surgeon. “We have to be certain that the work up for the donor is as thorough as you can imagine.”
“I know the risks of going into surgery, what can happen, and I’ m willing to accept that,” Eigner said.
The woman who gives you life “gives you life again,” Jamie said.
The surgery is expected to take several hours to complete. These days, doctors will make a small incision in both Jamie and her mother Valerie. Although Jamie will have to take anti-rejection medication, doctors told her they do not expect her lupus to reject the new kidney.
Valerie is expected to be home by Christmas day. Jamie is expected home next week.