Shared faith leads to kidney donation
Mercyhurst alumna Rev. Kristen Papson was featured on the front page of the Erie Times News on August 8, 2018 - she is the Pastor of Mount Calvary Lutheran Church in Erie and recently gave her left kidney to a fellow member of her theology group!
Read the full news article below.
Article retried from: http://www.goerie.com/news/20180808/shared-faith-leads-to-kidney-donation
A pastor who met an Erie principal in a theology group decided to give him a kidney.
Fatigued by kidney disease, Kevin Harper sent an email in January to the other members of the theology group he had joined almost two years earlier.
The Edison Elementary School principal no longer felt well enough to attend the group’s meetings at the Brewerie at Union Station. Harper wanted to let them know why and to keep him in their prayers.
“I was undergoing dialysis by that time and the day after I usually felt like I would pass out,” said Harper, 46, who lives in Erie.
Harper said he received many prayers from the group.
He also received a life-saving kidney.
The Rev. Kristen Papson, the pastor of Mount Calvary Lutheran Church in Erie and the group’s co-leader, gave Harper her left kidney July 20 at Allegheny General Hospital in Pittsburgh.
“I had been tested for bone marrow transplants before but never anything like this,” said Papson, 30, who lives just outside Edinboro. “I lost my father-in-law in a car crash and I felt that if I could prevent other children from having a parent die, I would do something.”
Harper is married and has a son and a daughter.
He was surprised and delighted to learn Papson, who is married with two young daughters, was willing to donate one of her kidneys to him. She told him about her decision after she went to Pittsburgh for an initial consultation with transplant officials.
“She called me and asked if I would consider getting one her kidneys if she was a match,” Harper said. “I said, ‘Yeah.’”
Papson proved to be a good match with Harper and that is when the enormity of her decision first struck home.
“I was at church preparing for Lenten services when the hospital called, said I was a match and approved me for more testing,” Papson said.
Papson and Harper met for dinner, and Harper asked if she was sure about giving him one of her kidneys. He said he was more worried for Papson than he was for himself.
After discussing it with her husband and parents, Papson was determined to continue with the transplant.
“I even ran it by my church council and they were all supportive,” Papson said. “They gave me six weeks paid time off.”
The transplant went smoothly at Allegheny General. Papson remembers seeing Harper still under anesthesia in post-op but the two didn’t get to talk until the next day.
Harper was a man of few words.
“Hi,” he remembered saying. “And thanks.”
Like many transplant patients, Harper felt a lot better after being connected to a healthy kidney.
“I felt incredible. I had much more energy,” he said. “I could stay awake a whole day, from 8 a.m. to midnight, without having to lay down or take a nap.”
Papson also recovered quickly, except for a fever she developed shortly after she was discharged. Doctors considered having her readmitted back in Pittsburgh but the fever broke later that night.
Papson is scheduled to return to work Sept. 1 and Harper will go back Sept. 10. He said Popson’s selflessness has strengthened his faith in God.
“I lost my mom to kidney cancer in 2004 and my faith was tested,” Harper said. “This has helped me believe more in Christ, more in God. Unequivocally, my faith is the reason I am in this situation.”