When we think of gifts, images of jewelry or lotions or flowers are typically conjured up in our minds.
But this Thursday, Feb. 28, Pickens resident Mila Lane is giving her sister the gift of health and life. Lane, head teller at Renasant Bank off Hwy 515, is going under the knife so she can donate one of her kidneys to her sister Rosi Wentworth, who has suffered from a kidney disease for over four years.
“Her kidneys are crystallized,” Lane said. “She had to go to dialysis three times a week, Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Her feet started to swell but she said she didn’t really feel too sick. She is such a hard worker and doesn’t complain about anything, but if we don’t do this it would hurt her other organs. Both her kidneys stopped at the same time.”
According to WebMD, Kidney dialysis is a life-supporting treatment that filters harmful wastes from your blood. Dialysis replaces many of the kidney's important functions, including the filtering of waste, fluid and toxins from the blood stream. Without dialysis, harmful substances build up in the body causing high blood pressure and swelling.
Lane said she didn’t give it a second thought when two years ago doctors told her she would be a good match to donate her organ to Rosi.
“The waiting list for a kidney takes so long,” Lane said. “I just thought, if I match, why not? Of course I will give my kidney for my sister. My brothers and mother couldn’t because of health issues. So I found out I matched, but at the time Rosi was undergoing treatments for thyroid cancer and the surgery was delayed.”
Now that her sister is cancer-free, Lane is ready and willing to help. Lane’s kidney will be surgically implanted into Rosi’s body, but Rosi’s two bad kidneys will not be removed.
“They are going to keep them there because they say it’s less of a shock to her body and the chances that she will do better is increased. I was a little nervous before, but not now. Rosi keeps asking me, ‘Are you sure? Are you sure?’ and of course I’m sure. All you got is family sometimes,” Lane said, whose three siblings and mother moved to Jasper from Peru. “We still all meet every Sunday and Rosi will cook for us, Peruvian food of course. But I want my kids to be like that, always strong with your family.”
Pickens residents may remember Rosi’s restaurant Savor on Main Street in Jasper, which closed about five years ago. Rosi, a Peruvian chef, almost single handedly ran the business, working from morning to night.
“Now that she has been sick going to treatments, she has been helping our brothers and making bread and selling that,” Lane said, whose brothers Tulio and Victor both work as cooks at local restaurants.
Lane said her family’s church, Our Lady of the Mountains, has been very supportive of Rosie’s health issues, driving her to Atlanta for treatments when she couldn’t get another ride.
“And my work has been so supportive, too,” Lane said. “It's amazing the support and love from the people we know.”
Following the surgery Rosi will go to Emory for follow-ups twice a week for three months, “and she will get to stop the dialysis treatments,” Lane said. “We are praying she will feel better. She is such a strong person and I’m so happy to do this.”