Friday, March 9, 2012

NFT Has a New Site!

We are thrilled to announce that our blog has moved to our new website. To find our blog, please visit

We will no longer update this blog, as everything will now appear on our new site.

Thank you!

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

March Patient of the Month: Anna Leigh Henning

Baby Anna Leigh Henning was fighting for her life even before she was born. She was born prematurely at 30 weeks and is currently in the NICU. This sweet little girl has a long, difficult road ahead of her and desperately needs help.

In 2010, Anna Leigh's mother, Sheri, gave birth to a baby boy named Jacob Aden. Sheri was distraught to learn he was suffering from junctional epidermolysis bullosa (JEB), a rare disease causing the skin to blister upon the simplest touch. JEB can also affect the mouth, esophagus and internal organs, making it difficult for babies to eat. Jacob lost his health battle after just seven weeks.

In 2011, Sheri became pregnant with twin girls. Just before Christmas, she received the devastating news that Anna Leigh also had JEB, but the other baby did not, and her bone marrow could save Anna Leigh's life. The plan was to relocate to Minnesota during Sheri's 34th week of pregnancy, where a team of doctors has been doing groundbreaking work in treating JEB. The babies would be monitored, and Anna Leigh's own stem cells and bone marrow from her twin would be harvested. After a few months, Anna Leigh would undergo chemotherapy and a stem cell and bone marrow transplant, using the treated cells and marrow from her twin sister and herself.

Sadly, Sheri required an emergency C-section when she was just 30 weeks pregnant, and the healthy twin did not survive. Plans are still in place for Anna Leigh to undergo the transplant, and she and Sheri will be transferred to Minnesota soon.

Anna Leigh's family needs your help. To read more about her story or to make a donation in her honor, please visit her page on the NFT website.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Act of Kindness Years Ago Returned With a Kidney Transplant

The following story is from Eyewitness News 9 in New Bern, NC:

It has been called a miracle. A couple took in a stranger and more than 20 years later that stranger would save one of of their lives.

Mikie and Rita Casem were living in Washington D.C. in 1979 when their priest told them about a teenage girl who was pregnant and had nowhere to go.

Mickie remembers what the priest told him when the couple decided to take in Theresa Palumbo.

"When we told Father Wells we were going to take Theresa in, he looked me in the eye and said 'you'll never regret this'," he said. Casem says Theresa became a member of the family in the time she stayed with them.

"The whole seven months that she was there, she just literally poured out her heart to us and shared openly with us just as if she was one of our children," he said.

Theresa Palumbo went on to have a son named Jonathan. She went to college and later married Jonathan's father, Jeff.

The Casem's retired to New Bern but they stayed in touch over the years. During a recent phone call in 2010 Mikie told Theresa one of his kidneys was failing. Mikie had a number of willing donors, but none of them were compatible. Theresa however, was a perfect match.

After months of tests and doctors visits, the transplant happened on February second.

"They took the staples out of my scar and each visit, I get a little more free reign. I still have to take it easy. Today, three and a half weeks out of surgery, I'm walking a half a mile," he explained.

And he owes it all to Theresa Palumbo.

Mikie Casem is nearly finished with a book he's writing about his experience. It will be titled "Circle of Grace." He hopes to have it published later this year.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

March is National Kidney Month

If you have high blood pressure, diabetes or a family history of kidney disease, you're at risk for chronic kidney disease (CKD). But there is some good news. With a healthy diet and regular exercise, preventing CKD is not as difficult as you might think.

March is National Kidney Month. Here are some prevention tips from the National Kidney Foundation.

Healthy Eating 
  • Fruit (fresh or dried)
  • Unsalted nuts 
  • Fiber bars
  • Vegetables 
  • Soy milk 
  • Keep snacks like chips and cookies to a minimum
  • Be sure to get 30 minutes of physical activity at least 5 times a week. Of that, 10 minutes at least 2 or 3 times a week should include light weight training.
  • If you have trouble with your back or joints, swimming or walking in water will help achieve good cardio performance. Swimming is the best physical activity of all because it keeps all weight off the joints, causing no wear and tear.
  • Take the stairs wherever possible, instead of riding the elevator or escalator. 
  • Get in the habit of biking or walking, rather than driving, while running errands or heading to appointments. 
  • If you're planning to do highly vigorous physical activity, stay well-hydrated. Drink plenty of fluids and keep a water bottle handy. 
Know Your Risks
  • Of the more than 113,000 Americans currently awaiting organ transplants, 91,000 are waiting for a kidney. 
  • Diabetes is the leading cause of kidney failure, accounting for 44% of the new cases. Nearly 215,000 people are living with kidney failure resulting from diabetes. 
  • Uncontrolled or poorly controlled high blood pressure is the second leading cause of kidney failure in the country, accounting for 26% of all cases. 
  • The third and fourth leading causes of kidney failure in the U.S. are glomerulonephritis, an inflammatory disease of the kidneys, and polycystic kidney disease. 
  • CKD hits minorities disproportionately, with African Americans affected at a rate of nearly three times that of Caucasians as the number of new cases of kidney failure per million is 783 for African Americans and 295 for whites. Hispanics, Asians, Pacific Islanders, Native Americans and the elderly are also at increased risk. 
  • Each year, more than 88,000 Americans die from causes related to kidney failure. 
  • CKD continues to be a major cause of lost productivity, physician visits and hospitalizations among men and women.
Do you think you may be at risk for kidney disease? Find out by taking the kidney quiz on the National Kidney Foundation's website

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Younger Bone Marrow Registry Members 10 Times More Likely to Be Called

Be The Match® recruiters across the country are spreading the word that people between the ages of 18 and 44 are especially needed to save more lives. In fact, registry members in this age group are 10 times more likely to be called as a potential donor than other members of the registry.

Transplant doctors weigh many factors when selecting a donor for one of their patients; the age of the donor is one of them. This reflects research findings that patients who receive cells from younger donors have a better chance at long-term survival after transplant. Younger donors produce more and higher-quality cells than older donors, and transplants with a high number of quality cells improve the chances of success.

Recruitment efforts are changing to respond to this need. College initiatives will continue to grow. Recruiters are asking sponsors, patient families, and partners to focus their drive efforts on attracting younger, committed registry members.

The age range for joining and being listed on the registry has not changed. Those who are between the ages of 18 and 60, meet health guidelines and are willing to donate to any patient in need, are still welcome to join the registry.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Article Inspires Woman to Give Kidney to Stranger

What an amazing story about 8-year-old NFT patient Jaquilyn Shaw and her altruistic kidney donor!