Lovettsville resident Amy Lynn Samulenas is looking for a little help from her friends and neighbors. Samulenas needs a kidney.
The 38-year-old has been struggling with kidney disease since she was 10 years old, along with multiple sclerosis diagnosed at an even younger age. Three years ago, Samulenas received word from her doctors that she needs a kidney transplant to save her life. She has been on several donor registries ever since, but was urged by her medical team to see if any family members or others close to her would be a match. Unfortunately, none were, and now she is expanding her outreach to the community.
Samulenas’ form of kidney disease is called focal segmental glomerulosclerosis, which is causing her kidneys to shrink.
“Think of a grape shriveling up into a raisin, that’s what happened. The filtration units in my kidneys aren’t working to filter blood,” she said. “Kidneys can take a lot, and my kidneys have just had enough now.”
In healthy kidneys, the Glomerular filtration rate, which measures the level of kidney function, should be between 110 and 120. Samulenas’ is now at five. Since late October, she has traveled three days a week to Walter Reed Medical Center to receive dialysis to help filter her blood.
“Without the dialysis I would not be here,” she said.
Samulenas and her husband, Christopher, now find themselves in a “horrible waiting game,” she said.
Samulenas needs a donor with O positive or O negative blood type, and any potential donor must pass a series of tests and evaluations that ensure they are healthy enough for the transplant.
Anyone who thinks they may be a candidate for donation is asked to call or email Vilda Brown, the living transplant coordinator at Walter Reed. Brown said that even if a potential donor does not know his or her blood type, she can provide them with paperwork to take to a lab to get their bloodwork done. Should the tissue come back as a potential match, the donor candidate would be asked to come to Walter Reed for initial testing, at no cost to them.
Brown may be reached at 202-390-2474 or email@example.com.