Nothing would make for a better start to this new year for the family of Anglican priest Father Sebastian Campbell, than if their daughter and sister Andree Campbell is the recipient of a double kidney and pancreas transplant, which she desperately needs. In fact, yesterday, Campbell was “sitting on pins and needles” as Andree received a call to make her way to a South Florida hospital yesterday afternoon to be tested to see if she was a match to receive organs the medical facility had received.
Andree, who has been living in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, for the past year to be close to the hospital for just such a telephone call, was rushed to the hospital by her brother Sebastian Campbell, Jr. Her dad said he is waiting to see if the organs match his daughter 100 percent.
“I was told to wait because they have to be certain it’s a 100 percent match. We pray that it’s a 100 percent match. I’m waiting on that call to say they will proceed and I will be off. I’m claiming that,” said Campbell.
In the year that Andree has been living in Fort Lauderdale, Monday’s call was the first Andree had received. Actually, her dad said she had received two calls in a three-day span, the first was on Friday of last week, but it was different from the Monday call. The Friday call was to inform Andree to be on standby as another person was ahead of her with the same blood type, so she was put in a holding pattern, in case that person could not be found. That first call did not pan out. But Monday’s call was different – she wasn’t put in holding. Andree was told to make her way to the hospital to see if the organs were a 100 percent match.
Campbell, who spoke with The Nassau Guardian a mere two minutes after receiving the call that his daughter was to make her way to the hospital, asked for continued prayers that she would be a match and be able to accept the organs.
Andree was rushed to hospital even though the family is $100,000 short of the $300,000 needed just for Andree’s surgery.
“I’m going on a wing and a prayer,” said Campbell. “God has brought us this far,” he said.
Along with prayers and general support, Campbell said financial help is appreciated due to the many bills they’ve incurred outside of Andree’s surgery, which he said includes maintaining a residence in Florida for Andree over the past year.
The Campbells have had to maintain a rented home in Florida for Andree where she’s been since January 31, 2019 for her to be close to the hospital in anticipation of the call that came in yesterday. That was never factored into expenses.
“She went over and never came back,” he said. “It wasn’t wise to even think about her coming back because of the treatment she gets,” said Campbell who spoke with The Nassau Guardian two minutes after Andree received the call.
“People have been nice to us, I must say – but the drama continues,” said Campbell.
Post-surgery expenses were also not factored into the cost. It’s estimated Andree would need $6,000 per month for medication alone.
As Andree fought for her life, her dad said she’s maintained hope through it all.
“She’s very hopeful and very upbeat. In fact, she’s the one who encourages us,” he said. “She never lost hope.”
Andree has also lost more than 80 percent of her eyesight. Campbell said he’s hopeful and prayerful that with a successful transplant, she gets some of her lost eyesight back.
Andree, who is in her late 30’s, has had to battle with her health for most of her life having been diagnosed with type 1 diabetes and high blood pressure just before her 10th birthday. Nine years ago, her medical problems were compounded when she developed chronic kidney disease. Not only did Andree have to continue to stay on top of the fact that her body does not produce insulin, a hormone the body needs to get glucose from the bloodstream into the cells of the body, but she also had to contend with the gradual loss of her kidneys, which filters wastes and excess fluids from the blood, which are then excreted into the urine, as they began to fail.
When chronic kidney disease reaches an advanced stage, dangerous levels of fluid, electrolytes and wastes can build up in the body.
Treatment for chronic kidney disease focuses on slowing the progression of the kidney damage usually by controlling the underlying cause. Chronic kidney disease can progress to end-stage kidney failure, which is fatal without artificial filtering (dialysis) or a kidney transplant.
Andree found herself having to take dialysis treatments three times per week while she sought to have a kidney transplant.
In May 2018, a GoFundMe account was organized by Juanita Houston, Andree’s sorority sister, to assist in raising the $300,000 Andree needed for surgery. Yesterday, Andree’s GoFundMe page revealed that $9,029 had been raised; and that on May 16, 2019, her friend made another public appeal for financial assistance, writing that a little from many helps.
In her crowdfunding plea, Houston wrote that while regular dialysis treatments helped Andree’s kidneys do their job and keep her alive, a transplant would offer her more freedom and the ability to live a longer, healthier, more normal life. And that a transplant would give Andree more time to do the fun things she enjoys most, like spending time with her family and friends.
In July 2018, Andree told The Nassau Guardian that before dialysis, she was able to lead a pretty normal life, but dialysis took so much away.
When she started dialysis, she said she normally had to leave home at two in the morning for treatments three times per week that didn’t start until 5 a.m. – that’s if they even started on time.
After taking treatment, she would then head to her job, and that was if she felt well after having treatment.
“It’s rough – especially on dialysis days. The other days it’s fine, but dialysis days are rough,” she told The Nassau Guardian.
Signs and symptoms
Signs and symptoms of kidney disease may include nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite, fatigue and weakness, sleep problems, changes in how much a person urinates, decreased mental sharpness, muscle twitches and cramps, swelling of feet and ankles, persistent itching, chest pain if fluid builds up around the lining of the heart, shortness of breath if fluid builds up in the lungs, and high blood pressure that’s difficult to control.
According to the Mayo Clinic, signs and symptoms of kidney disease are often nonspecific, meaning they can also be caused by other illnesses. Furthermore, because kidneys are highly adaptable and able to compensate for lost functions, signs and symptoms may not appear until irreversible damage has occurred.
Type 1 diabetes and high blood pressure are two risk factors that cause chronic kidney disease, along with heart and blood vessel (cardiovascular) disease, smoking, obesity, being African-American, Native American or Asian-American, family history of kidney disease, abnormal kidney structure, or older age.
Andree has type 1 diabetes and high blood pressure and with that combination she developed chronic kidney disease.
Chronic kidney disease can affect almost every part of the body. Potential complications may include: fluid retention, which could lead to swelling in your arms and legs; high blood pressure, or fluid in your lungs (pulmonary edema); a sudden rise in potassium levels in the blood, which could impair the heart’s ability to function; heart and blood vessel disease; weak bones and an increased risk of bone fractures; anemia; decreased sex drive, erectile dysfunction or reduced fertility; damage to the central nervous system, which can cause difficulty concentrating, personality changes or seizures; decreased immune response, which makes you more vulnerable to infection; pericarditis, an inflammation of the saclike membrane that envelops the heart; pregnancy complications that carry risks for the mother and the developing fetus; irreversible damage to the kidneys, eventually requiring either dialysis or a kidney transplant for survival.