A beloved school crossing guard is starting the new year with a new lease on life: a kidney she’s been waiting years to receive.
Marian Jones has been a crossing guard with Lakewood Elementary School for more than 11 years. In 2015, she learned of her kidney failure and need for a kidney transplant.
Since then, Jones said she’s needed dialysis treatments three times a week, with each session lasting for about four hours. Over the years, the school and community members have rallied behind Jones by helping raise funds to help with medical costs.
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Parents have even helped by taking turns driving her to dialysis treatments, Jones said.
“Thank you probably isn’t enough to say, but it’s the greatest thing I can say… is thank you, thank you, thank you,” Jones said.
The day after Christmas, she got a call early in the morning and learned would be getting a kidney.
Jones' daughter, Fay Ogbonna, said for her, reality didn’t set in until after the surgery.
“When you think about, four years is not a long time but when you’ve been to so many appointments, so many ups and downs, that defining moment – you’re not even ready,” Ogbonna said. “It really dawn on me until after my mom’s surgery that night, I was at home and I just started crying, like my mom has a freaking new kidney. It was unbelievable.”
According to the National Kidney Foundation, once a patient is on the national organ transplant waiting list, he or she may receive an organ fairly quickly, but may “wait many years.”
“In general, the average time frame for waiting can be 3-5 years at most centers and even longer in some geographical regions of the country,” according to foundation.
Some factors that could determine how long someone would wait includes how well they match with an available kidney, blood groups and how many donors are available in local areas.
Jones told NBC 5, she hoped her story would serve as an inspiration for people who are still waiting for a transplant.
“If I could go through something, you can too,” she said. “Have a good support system and if you don’t, just really love yourself. Love yourself from the inside and it’ll come on the outside.”
According to the United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS), there are currently there are around 93,000 people on the kidney transplant waitlist.