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Author Topic: 30 yrs: Fleshers celebrate life, share story of hope for kidney patients  (Read 2281 times)
okarol
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Photo is Jenna - after Disneyland - 1988

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« on: October 11, 2014, 03:42:44 PM »

Fleshers celebrate life, share story of hope for kidney patients

By Rebecca Haines

October 07. 2014 9:26AM

Wednesday was the 30th anniversary of G.A. Flesher's kidney transplant procedure.
G.A. Flesher sits with his wife, Tina, at Mother Road Coffee on Wednesday - the 30th anniversary of his kidney transplant surgery. The couple share their story of how they were given the gift of life.
PHOTO/ REBECCA HAINES


After attending the Kiwanis Club meeting, G.A. met his wife, Tina, of 27 years, on the Square. He works at Hometown Bank in Joplin, and she works in the Carthage R-9 Administration building. On that day, together, they shared their story of a time when the statistics were not in G.A.'s favor.
According to the National Kidney Foundation, as of May 21, 2014, there are 122,737 people waiting for life-saving organ transplants in the U.S. Of these, 100,602 await kidney transplants. Last year, 14,029 kidney transplants took place in the U.S. however, 14 people die each day while waiting for one. According to UNOS, most of the organs that are available for transplants come from deceased donors. Kidney donations can come from a live donor, and that was how G.A.'s first attempt of a transplant happened.
“My sister donated her kidney,” he said. “After it failed I took chemo dialysis for about two and a half years.”
G.A. described his life as frail: taking up to 54 pills a day, losing so much calcium in his bones that it resulted in countless injuries, and having little-to-no energy.
He had moved to Carthage his sophomore year in high school, graduating with the Class of 1977. He met Tina at church, inevitably, since their families knew each other. Tina had lost her father at the age of five to kidney failure.
“It's one of those 'you never know what God's plan is' kind of things,” she said of the coincidence.
At the time, G.A. had put off going to college to help his grandfather and uncles in construction, but when he became sick his physical abilities gave him the opportunity to attend college.
With the support of his parents, George and Blanche Flesher, he was able to take classes around his treatment schedule and frequent trips in and out of the hospital. Although he had to take a couple semesters off for the transplant and recovery in 1984, he was able to graduate in 1985 from Missouri Southern State University with a degree in accounting.
“I was told we were never going to be able to have children, at 22, my goal was to see 25, and then see 30 after the transplant,” G.A. said. “I have been so blessed – so blessed by God. Going into it, you worry. Surgery is always scary. By the time you're ready for a transplant you're in bad shape. Your body is thinking 'oh no, not another procedure.' You don't want to give up, but at the same time I was a Christian and ready to go. I was tired of fighting. But the change was phenomenal. To go from what I was to having all kinds of energy, it was like a new life … Nine years came and went and I was able to live my life again.”
G.A. and Tina have two daughters, Courtney and Samantha. When not spending time with them, G.A. enjoys playing his guitar, golfing, hunting, fishing, and spending  weekends at the lake. On Friday nights, he's normally at K.E. Baker Stadium supporting the Carthage Tiger football team. He is also a big fan of basketball and supports the MSSU and MIZZOU men’s teams.
The Fleshers know what it's like to wait for a call that doesn't come to thousands. They also know the joy and relief that comes when it does.
“Thirty years is a remarkable result,” Tina said. “The average transplant is only expected to last 10-15 years. G.A. received his transplant from a deceased donor, after being on dialysis for several years. If you ask G.A., he will tell you that these 30 years are just the beginning. He is looking forward to what the next 30 years will bring. He encourages anyone that is interested in organ donation to read and learn the facts. Also, talk to your family and let them know your wishes. The best way to ensure that your wishes are carried out is to put them in writing. By donating your organs, you can save or improve as many as 50 lives.”
G.A. noted the impact of the experience on kidney transplant spouses, and how blessed he is to have someone who knew going into it what the possibilities were, stay by his side through the entire journey.

“For the Flesher family, and others like them, thank you just can’t express what it has meant to receive such a wonderful gift … the gift of life!” – to the anonymous family of the deceased organ donor that saved G.A. Flesher's life.

http://www.carthagepress.com/article/20141007/NEWS/141009248
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Admin for IHateDialysis 2008 - 2014, retired.
Jenna is our daughter, bad bladder damaged her kidneys.
Was on in-center hemodialysis 2003-2007.
7 yr transplant lost due to rejection.
She did PD Sept. 2013 - July 2017
Found a swap living donor using social media, friends, family.
New kidney in a paired donation swap July 26, 2017.
Her story ---> https://www.facebook.com/WantedKidneyDonor
Please watch her video: http://youtu.be/D9ZuVJ_s80Y
Living Donors Rock! http://www.livingdonorsonline.org -
News video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J-7KvgQDWpU
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