COLONIAL HEIGHTS, Va. (WRIC) — A 58-year-old mother of three is in dire need of a kidney transplant to survive. Her daughters are waiting for a miracle and they’re sharing their story in hopes that someone will step up and be a match.
Kathy Stiltoner suffers from stage five kidney disease and was diagnosed with kidney failure three years ago. Two of her daughters, Brittney Marine and Kaitlyn Cothron, tell 8News that their mother is fading before their eyes and she will not survive much longer without a transplant. Marine says each day they anxiously wait for a phone call from the doctor’s office, but as each day passes they’re losing hope.
Stiltoner is in need of a living donor with blood type “O”.
“I know if she doesn’t get it, I’ll have to bury my mother,” Marine told 8News. “I’m not ready to lose my mother”.
For Stiltoner, a transplant is a matter of life or death. While sitting on a couch, clutching her daughters hands with tears running down her face, Stiltoner shares her biggest fear.
“Dying,” Stiltoner cried. “Not being able to see my children or grandchildren.”
A dark cloud of fear and uncertainty hovers over this Colonial Heights family each day as they patiently wait for their prayers to be answered.
“My fear is to get that phone call that she’s no longer here,” Marine cried. “If I call her in the morning and she doesn’t answer I have a ten minute time frame before I come to her house because I worry that she’s gone.”
Stiltoner has battled diabetes for years, even undergoing a leg amputation. She tells 8News she took care of everyone for so long, that she didn’t take care of herself. She goes on to say her condition took a turn for the worse three years ago when she was diagnosed with kidney failure.
“Diabetes is such a silent killer,” Stiltoner said. “I used to be a caretaker and take care of everybody, but I can’t even seem to do that anymore.”
She shares that the only thing keeping her alive now is dialysis.
“For three years I’ve been on dialysis. I go three times a week,” Stiltoner shared. “I don’t urinate, therefore I carry a lot of fluid. I’m short of breath all the time and there’s so many things I can’t do like I did before.”
Marine and Cothron say dialysis is severely taking a toll on their mother’s body and her health is steadily declining. While cherishing every moment together, Stiltoner’s daughters know time is of the essence.
Stiltoner has been on the donor list at VCU Medical Center for almost two years and recognizes that it’s a lengthy process. However, her daughters refuse to stand by and watch their mother decline. As sisters, they’re doing everything they can to save the life of the woman who gave them life, deciding to go public with their story.
For the past three years, as a family, they decided to keep their journey private, but feel the need to ask for help and share what many others can relate to, a sick family member. Stiltoner’s daughters recently shared their mother’s journey on social media, hoping to reach a bigger audience for help and prayers.
Family members have been tested, but are not a match. Marine, Stiltoner’s middle child, shed 70 pounds to be healthy enough for donor consideration. Marine is type “A”, which is not compatible. But at 31 years old, she’s still ready to give up one of her kidneys to save her mother.
“My mom and I are on a paired transplant list through MCV,” Marine explained. “We would do a swap. So whoever is mom’s match, I would donate to whoever was on their paired transplant list.”
For now it’s the waiting game, but this family is hoping someone steps up to save a life.
“I pray every night that I will find a donor,” Stiltoner cried. “I won’t ever give up.”
Stiltoner tells 8News her insurance would cover all costs for the donor. If you’d like to help this family or get tested as a possible match, contact the VCU Medical Center. You’re asked to call Maureen Bell at 804-628-0711 and provide the name ‘Kathy Stiltoner’.