Mother’s gift: Her kidney

By JENELLE JOHNSON
Family Living Editor

Register/Jenelle Johnson
Cody Wools will receive a special gift from mother Debra, a healthy, functioning kidney in September. Cody’s kidneys ceased to function last year due to IgA nephropathy, an autoimmune disease. He had carried the genes for the disease all his life. The disease can be silent for years and then suddenly attack the kidneys.

HUMBOLDT — September will be a monumental month for Cody Wools.
He and Susan Jones are planning their wedding on Sept. 5, his mother turns 50 two days later, and he celebrates his 26th birthday Sept. 29.
His greatest gift will come from his mother, Debra, who will give him one of her healthy kidneys Sept. 15 at St. Francis Hospital in Wichita.
When her son became ill with IgA nephropathy, also known as Berger’s disease, and had to go on dialysis due to complete renal failure, her first thought was to give him one of her kidneys.
The two were a match. Cody’s twin brother Cory also was a match.
“I feel as through it is a privilege for me to be able to give my son my kidney. I don’t think I could sit in the waiting room knowing both Cody and Cory were in the operating room at the same time,” Debra said.
Originally from Colony, Wools was a standout football player at Crest High School, graduating in 2002.
He recalled he had back pain when in high school but attributed it to strenuous activity during his football games.
Wools’ life was put on hold on Oct. 17, 2008, when what he thought was the flu was actually IgA nephropathy, an autoimmune disease that affects the kidneys. He was in end stage renal failure.
He had been vomiting, had a headache, chills and was flushed.
“I thought my head was going to explode so mom took me to the pharmacy for a blood pressure check,” he said.
His blood presses was extremely elevated and he was taken to the emergency room at Allen County Hospital, where his blood pressure had risen to 240/140. Medical personnel were worried about the possibility of a stroke and immediately transferred Wools to Wesely Medical Center in Wichita.
Following blood work and a kidney biopsy the doctors found that Wools’ kidneys were no longer functioning. Once the kidneys fail there is no way for them to function again, a doctor told Wools.
When given his diagnosis, Wools told his mother, “I am glad this happened to me and not to one of my family.”
Wools travels to Chanute three days a week for four-hour dialysis treatments at the Fresenius Center.
An employee of Gates Corporation, he continued to work until July. Then summer heat began to make Wools vomit and to become weak when walking. He is on medical leave and hopes to return to work following his transplant.
His insurance at Gates and Medicare help pay a portion of his medical expenses, which have included monthly visits to his nephrologist in Wichita and Independence and helps to pay for his extremely high medication bills each month.
Wools said it is hard for him to ask for help, but his insurance won’t pay all his expenses.
The cost of the transplant is $200,000 and he will have to pay 10 percent of the surgery costs. Following surgery he will have to travel to Wichita three days a week for checkups to make sure his body isn’t rejecting the new kidney. The second month after surgery he will travel to Wichita two days a week and the third month one day a week.
“The first thing I’m going to do when I get off of dialysis is eat as much cheese and chocolate as I can without getting sick and drink all the milk I can hold. I can’t wait,” he said. Wools has been limited to foods he is able to eat while on dialysis.

ON SATURDAY, a poker run is planned to help with medical expenses and anti-rejection medications.
Registration begins at noon at the Monkey Butt Saloon, 215 W. Garfield, in Iola. The poker run will travel to South Side Bar in Chanute, Elsmore Bar, Bronson Bar and make its final stop at Half-Way House Saloon at 5:30 p.m. in Colony. Registration is $20 and additional hands are $10. Prizes will be awarded and items raffled at each location.
Area merchants have been great to donate items for the poker run, Wools said. A dinner will be served at Half-Way House Saloon at the end of the run.
For additional information, call Tracy Summervill at (620) 432-1846 or Susie Jones at (620) 432-3760.
Donations may also be sent to Colony State Bank.