Mother-daughter duo seek help for dialysis patients

By NANCY WILSTACH / Community Columnist

When Samantha Green, now 30, was a Montevallo High School senior, the world around her began to fall apart.

Yvonne Green’s sudden critical illness threatened to destroy the joyful, loving, nurturing cocoon of Samantha’s life.

Yvonne (left) and Samantha Green team up for an annual Mother’s Day luncheon to encourage organ donation.
(Contributed)

“My mother went into complete renal failure,” said Samantha. Suddenly, she said, things like senior portraits, class rings and prom dresses seemed so unrelated to the very real need for her mother to find a donor kidney.

Samantha made it through that senior year in 2005, and she went on to college and graduate school. She now teaches eighth grade language arts in Greenville, but the close relationship with her mother remains intact.

Many people around Shelby County may know Yvonne Green from her years as a counselor in the DAY-Program in Alabaster and later at Family Connection. When her failed kidneys forced her to forego the commuter world to stay at home, idleness was not part of her plan. Green took a class in floral arrangement, and she makes funeral wreaths, and decorates for weddings; she also designs themed gift baskets.

The two women also recruit organ donors, speaking at health fairs and other events.

“Samantha was in graduate school at West Alabama,” Green recalled, “and she wanted me to come for her ‘Call to Action’ speech about organ donation. I didn’t know I was going to be ‘show-and-tell.’”

Their teamwork started from that grad school speech and has grown to include a Mother’s Day Brunch and a continuing effort to gather necessities and treats for dialysis patients. Before her first successful kidney transplant in 2009, Yvonne Green spent five years on dialysis.

“It is hard to comprehend what dialysis patients go through,” said Samantha. “Anywhere from three to five times a week, they sit in that chair with that needle in their arm without moving for three hours.”

Samantha went with her mother to dialysis, and she related to what the patients endure … and she noticed the things that they need.

“A lot of people do not realize that the cost of dialysis is an average of $85,000 a year,” she said. “Some have insurance that covers part of it, but many don’t. And that doesn’t include the cost of transportation.

“Dialysis patients kind of get forgotten at the holidays,” Samantha said. She and her mother are tackling that problem this year, as they did last year.

The goody bags the women are putting together will include items such as peanut butter crackers, warm footies (feet get cold during dialysis), facial tissues, neck pillows and blankets. Gas cards are also welcome, she said, to help defray the transportation costs.

High school seniors earn some of their community service points by helping to fill the bags and deliver them to the dialysis patients. Yvonne Green is the contact point for those wishing to donate at (205) 665-2833.

Meanwhile, we can help others like Yvonne Green by being organ donors—just check that box when you renew your driver’s license.