Raleigh woman hopes to find kidney donor for niece, raise awareness


A Raleigh woman hopes the decal on her car window will catch the attention of someone who can help her niece.  

The sticker on Emily McGee’s window reads “Donor Needed” and gives a phone number and Facebook page. 

McGee’s niece, Jakki Ryan, lives in Michigan. She was once active but says her chronic kidney disease now makes it difficult to get through the day.

“Eventually it will take my life,” said Ryan, who spoke to CBS 17 through Skype.

She says she’s been on the transplant list for three years and will likely wait years longer for a kidney unless she can find a living donor who’s a match.

“She’s my niece and I love her very much and I’d like to keep her around a long time,” said McGee.  

Family and friends are helping Ryan search for a donor. They started a Facebook page and made car decals and window stickers that are now in cities across the country.

It’s a chance to start a conversation about kidney donation.

“You can function just as well with one kidney as you can two, and maybe that’s why we have two — to help others out,” said McGee. 

Even if a potential donor isn’t a match for Ryan, they hope people will consider a donation. 

“I’ve been acquainted with many, many people who need kidneys, and whether or not I receive one, I would just feel fantastic if I could help somebody else,” said Ryan. 

Ryan also urges everyone to pay extra attention to results of bloodwork. She says she wasn’t diagnosed with kidney disease until it was already very serious, and if she’d realized her kidney function was declining, she may have been able to take action to keep her disease from getting worse. 

Anyone interested in learning more about Jakki Ryan’s story or becoming a kidney donor, call 833-8DONATE or search Kidney4jakki on Facebook. 

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