Kidney recipient 'grateful to be alive'
In June of 2014, Carol Mitola of Cranston was diagnosed with stage four-kidney disease. In June of last year, her nephrologist told her that it was time for a kidney transplant since she was at the end stage of kidney disease and on the doorstep to dialysis.
In October 2017, she was told that her friend (her living kidney donor) would not be able to donate her kidney because one of her preliminary tests did not pass.
After hearing this devastating news, Mitola knew her mission was to find another living donor as soon possible.
“I sent letters and flyers to my family, friends, and church, Cranston School Department and throughout Rhode Island,” she said. “My search expanded to social media with the inclusion of an article in the Cranston Herald, which ultimately reached a vast amount of readers.”
Mitola estimates about 25 people who read her story in the November 8, 2017 edition of the Herald stepped up and started the process to be a donor.
Shortly after her efforts to find a new donor, both Sarah Gibb, the Rhode Island Hospital Living Donor Coordinator, and Mitola received many phone calls.
“Many of the prospective kidney donors shared their heartfelt stories that included both spiritual and familial motivation to help me. They provided me with newfound hope and generated a positive outlook as I waited for a kidney,” she said.
After seven months of waiting for a new kidney donor, she finally received a call from the Transplant Coordinator in early May of this year.
“A new donor had completed the tests and we just had to wait for the last cross-match test,” she said. “On Friday, May 11, 2018, I received confirmation that my surgery would take place on Monday, May 14 – the day after Mother’s Day.”
The surgery was a success for both the donor, Dominique Poulin-Arcand, and Mitola.
It has been almost two months since the surgery and she feels better and stronger each day.
To her surprise the donor who was chosen was one of the two people she knew personally from the list. She is a family friend and she only knew of her identity a few days before the surgery.
“The gift Dominique Poulin-Arcand gave me is like no other I have received in this lifetime or that I will ever receive,” Mitola said. “Thank you. Words never seem enough to truly express the depth and scope of my appreciation for the sacrifice and gift she has given me. I thank Dominique for having the courage to commit such an awesome act of kindness for me.”
Mitola has a long list of people to thank.
“As I reflect on this arduous journey filled with a “roller coaster” of emotions and endless waiting, I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who called me and were part of my prospective donor list. I am eternally grateful for your concern, kindness and willingness to help me. Finally, my heartfelt thanks goes out to all of my family and friends who helped me circulate flyers, spread the word through social media, the parishioners of Holy Apostles Church and the article that appeared in both the Cranston Herald and Warwick Beacon who reached a vast amount of readers, along with hundreds of people throughout Rhode Island who continuously prayed for me. I would be remiss if I didn’t also thank Dr. Morrissey [surgeon] and the entire Nephrology Team at RI Hospital along with the nurses and CNA’s for their kindness, care and professionalism,” she said.
Mitola is aware of her great fortune, and is not taking anything for granted.
“As I recover, I look forward to a long healthy life. I plan to take very, very good care of my new kidney, follow very healthy habits and enjoy spending precious time with my family and friends. There will always be a special place in my heart for all of those people who were willing to help me receive a new kidney. My hope is that those in need of a new kidney will be blessed with the help and unselfish gift of life from other organ donors,” she said.