As some of you may know, Belinda has battled chronic kidney disease for most of her life, having been born with one horseshoe shaped kidney. After multiple surgeries at age three she is now in end-stage renal disease. Belinda has been told that her only chance for a healthy life is to have a kidney transplant.
You may know Belinda as a friend growing up in Tulsa, going to Edison Preparatory High School or while attending The University of Tulsa. Perhaps you remember her as the “softball and orchestra” mom, or as a wife and former business owner. Or you may know Belinda from attending Temple Israel for over 30 years or perhaps from reciting her name for the past four years during the Me Shebeirach healing prayer for the ill.
August 20, 2016
Aug 20, 2016
I want you to meet Claudia Smith, my “angel”. August 21, will be my 7 month Kidney Transplant anniversary thanks to Claudia.
We were best friends from elementary school through high school. She recalls me saying to her in 3rd grade in the cafeteria, “Someday I will need a kidney transplant.” She said she was in awe and asked God to pray for me and never forgot about that moment. After high school graduation we lost track of one another and reunited 36 years later.
“Our Story” is very special, long story this is the abbreviated as it can be version: I had been proceeding with a hospital in Texas, due to insurance mandates. I had posted a link earlier. Claudia and I were “friends” and unbeknownst to me she followed the link I had posted earlier but got no response, because my Creatine Clearance was 2 points too high and I was not on the UNOS list for kidney transplant.
Then finally my creatine dropped to 20, and I could then list on UNOS. Tim (my wonderful caring husband), wanted to be my donor and was deemed a “perfect match.”
We drove to Texas to complete final testing. High fives were exchanged, and we were told couldn’t have been more perfect if we were identical twins… that was until his Creatine Clearance came in 1 just 1 point too high.
That excluded Tim immediately from becoming my donor or anyone else’s. On our tearful journey back home I posted to social media.
Tim and I pursued Integris Baptist Nazudhi Transplant Center in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. We felt like this is where we were supposed to be, we felt at home.
That day did come when Claudia called and said: “Hi, do you remember me?” I am your match (she had been undergoing tests and determined to be a match in Texas).
We had a lot of catching up, as we hadn’t talked in 36 years, so our first conversation was 6 1/2 hours long. I then had to tell her Tim and I decided to go to Integris. I asked if she would consider this, and gave her the contact information.
She called Integris and then me and said: “Of course!” Can you imagine, I had no idea she was testing. I had a few friends that told me they had tested but were ruled out with illness’s they never knew they had. Due to the privacy laws, I didn’t know Claudia had been intent on becoming my donor.
Claudia had a few obstacles to overcome. She had hip issues and needed to lose just a bit of weight. She went to her Orthopedic doctor who wanted to give her steroid injections. She had presence of mind to pause and called Integris, and they said it could compromise her function.
Claudia never wavered, she sought out a Naturopath Chiropractor, who got her hips moving to lose the weight.
We met for the 1st time in 36 years when she went for final testing in Oklahoma City, September 2015. I was her cheerleader, not just for me but because she was so much healthier….
Then we had to wait for committee to “officially” accept her. They had told her we wouldn’t have brought you here, if we thought you weren’t a good match.
She once again came to the rescue, stating I needed it to happen before year’s end. Normally they don’t transplant so close to Christmas, but through prayers, faith the date was set: December 21, 2015.
WE WERE GOING TO DO THIS!!!
Now, you know why I call her “my angel”, she never faltered, her unwavering support, our faith and a great deal of prayer, made this miracle happen.
We IM daily, we’ve visited each other, and I can say I have my best friend back in my life.
I believe, and I hope this inspires others to do so….
January 19, 2016
One month ago today, I received the “Gift Of Life” from Claudia Buckling Smith. Reunited after thirty-six (36) years.
I am slowly progressing, still on what Tim and I call “House Arrest”-House Rest, as I am not allowed to go anywhere. In time, this will change. I am just so very thankful to be able to usher in 2016. Thank you a million times over to all, that offered and continue to offer prayers. I am also so very grateful to my “Angel”, Claudia, for the”gift” of life. Words just don’t cover how blessed I feel.
January 25, 2016
Hang in there girl! I think of you daily.....You have always been a determined soul! Stay determined and keep getting strong
January 22, 2016
Dear Belinda, It is a blessing to be part of your journey to wellness. I am so thankful for all the good reports from Integris! Keep taking good care of yourself, we're lifer's!
November 2, 2014
Praying for strength and healing for you.
October 28, 2014
Praying for you Belinda. You know we live in Fort Worth, so if your journey brings you here, we have a guest room you or your husband can certainly use. Hugs!
Kristin Wagner Henderson