Matching Jenns: 1 city teacher’s aide donates kidney to another

PHOTO PROVIDED Kidney recipient Jenn Pick, left, and kidney donor Jenn Gray hold a T-shirt made for each of them to wear.

One teacher’s aide at Williamsport Area Middle School recently donated a kidney to another teacher’s aide at the school.

Jenn Gray and Jenn Pick, both seventh-grade teacher’s aides, knew each other from working at the school. It was through Facebook, though, that Gray learned of Pick’s need of a donor and decided to get tested.

“I’ve been on the transplant list for about a year,” Pick said. “When we started the transplant process, they suggest using the media to find a donor. A living donor is more successful than other donors. We were hoping someone could help out.”

Pick went on Facebook and asked people to get tested. Gray saw it and was tested. It turned out that she was a match, and on Thursday she donated a kidney to Pick, saying she was happy to do it.

“I don’t understand why more people don’t do it. She needs one (a kidney), and I have a spare,” Gray said.

Pick said she was born with just one kidney, but she was unaware of the situation until she was 18 when her health started to change.

“Up until then, everything was good, and I didn’t have any health issues,” she said.

She was able to stabilize her diet to avoid dialysis, but eventually it was determined that she needed a new kidney.

Thankfully, she was able to find a match with Gray.

“We’ve known each other for three years. I would say we’re close friends,” Pick said. “We have definitely been coming closer since she found out I was having health issues.”

She said they plan, once

recovered, to talk about their surgeries more in depth with some of the science classes to help the students learn about organ donation.

“In the science class, we’ve been talking about exposing them more to it and showing some videos to help them know what organ donation is,” she said.

The idea is to help educate about organ donation.

“We’re excited and we’re hoping to inspire more people to do it since there is a need for it,” Pick said.

While the procedure might seem intimidating, Pick said that it is safe.

“It’s not life threatening for someone donating. Our doctors have been great with us, and they walked us through everything,” she said. “The test the donor has to go through is so in depth. They make sure your body can handle everything and that you’ll be OK.”

Pike said she hopes that it encourages more people to get tested for others, and she is grateful that Gray was willing to do it for her.

“I would just want to say how grateful I am, and I believe that there is a reason we were brought together at work,” Pick said. “Now we’re going to be a part of each other for the rest of our lives.”