- After her mom, Karey Gengler’s abrupt death, Josie Brown and her family decided to donate one of her kidneys to her steady boyfriend who was badly in need of a donor’s kidney.
- Even before her sudden death, Gengler had already thought of having herself tested to see if she’s a match so she can help relieve Mike Rodgers’ sufferings.
- For over a year, Rodgers had been on the donor waiting list while going through dialysis for most times in a week.
Amidst the unexpected passing of 46-year-old Karey Gengler from a brain aneurysm that left her family grieving, other lives including her daughter’s boyfriend were saved.
Her daughter Josie Brown’s longtime boyfriend, Mike Rodgers, was desperately in need of a kidney for more than a year.
Leaning on Brown and her family for support, he spends four hours a day three times a week in dialysis while waiting for a donor. He was diagnosed with the genetic condition Alport syndrome after being rushed to the hospital in September 2017 as his kidneys shut down.
“It was really draining. There were days I could handle it, but there were days when I couldn’t really do a lot. But having Josie and her whole family made it easier to get through,” he says.
Then Gengler died on December 2018 two days after suffering an aneurysm. Her family quickly suggested the idea of donating her kidney to Rodger.
Brown, 22, recalled that it was a hectic week for everyone-from trying to cope with her mother’s sudden death to waiting to see if Mike would be a match, which he was, so the whole transplant process was immediately started.
Prior to her death, Gengler had actually floated the idea of donating her kidney after seeing what Rodgers goes through but Brown said the timing was off because she just started her own business.
Surprisingly, Gengler was a match.
“It was really overwhelming. I never thought that I would be receiving her kidney while we were grieving over her,” says Rodgers. “I didn’t know if I was going to accept her kidney, but the whole family gave me their blessing and really helped me with my decision.”
Immediately, the kidney transplant began with the help of Dr. Alvin Wee at the Cleveland Clinic.
“There were a lot of emotions, but the credit should be given to Josie. I can’t imagine how much she was going through that time in making this decision,” says Wee.
According to the doctor, the transplant was a success and the kidney started working right away.
“When I woke up, I honestly felt more alive,” Rodgers says. “I felt healthy again.”
As for Brown, she says giving her mom’s kidney to Rodgers helped ease her sorrow because “you knew that something good could come out of something bad.”
Except for some initial adjustments with the post-transplant medications, Rodgers is doing very well now and extremely grateful to Josie and her family.