Ashley Brown always knew she was the one.
On Friday, she fulfilled her prophecy when she donated a kidney to her mother, Glenda, at Piedmont Hospital in Atlanta.
Glenda Brown (left), who suffers from diabetes, received a kidney from her daughter, Ashley, in a transplant operation Friday at Piedmont Hospital in Atlanta. Ashley's 2003 senior project at Evans High School was about dialysis and kidney transplants because she knew that she wanted to be a donor for her mother as soon as she was old enough, despite her mother's objections.
Photo by Jim Blaylock
"I even did my senior project (on it) to prove to her I'm the one," the 20-year-old Martinez resident said.
Mrs. Brown's kidneys failed as a result of her diabetes, and she has performed peritoneal dialysis herself four times a day for four years.Family members Friday morning reported the surgery went smoothly.
Ashley and her mother are so much alike, she said, that she always knew she would be the one to donate a kidney to her mother. In 2003, for her senior project at Evans High School, Ashley chose kidney dialysis and kidney donation as her topic.
After shadowing a nurse at the dialysis center and her mother's renal doctor, Ashley then followed staff at Duke University Medical Center, where her mother was being tested and put on the organ donor list 3 years ago.
"She told us that (she would give her mother a kidney) all along," Mrs. Brown said. "I didn't want her to. Ever since I found out I needed a kidney, she wanted to be tested, but I wouldn't let her. I didn't want either of my girls to do it. I just didn't want them to. They were too young and anything could have happened.''
Ashley was determined that if her mother wouldn't take her kidney, she would find her one somewhere, somehow.
Ashley wrote to Oprah Winfrey, called in and was interviewed on the Delilah radio show and even wrote to President Bush in attempts to locate a kidney for her mother.
"I was asking him could he donate a kidney because she wouldn't let me," Ashley said. "He just wrote back and said he was thinking about us."
Ashley even talked about donating her kidney to someone else in an effort to convince her mother to take the organ.
"She even threatened, there's a Share-a-Kidney program," said Ashley's father, Ronnie.
"She even said (to her mother), 'I'll just give my kidney to somebody else then and you'll have to take somebody else's.'... Whatever it takes to get her mom a kidney."
Ashley had to wait for her 18th birthday before being tested.
Last Christmas, she told her parents that she was going to Atlanta during spring break to be tested and that they would have the surgery in the fall. The two share the same O blood type and the pair were a perfect match for a donation.
In the end, Mrs. Brown realized that out of five people tested, only her daughter would be able to give her a kidney.
Mrs. Brown said the surgery could have actually been performed in the summer, but she wanted to enjoy the September wedding of her older daughter, April Crosby, 25.
"So exactly the way she said it was going to happen is exactly how it happened. Exactly," Mrs. Brown said.
Ashley has continued her senior project by keeping a journal of all the activities since the project, which ended with the words, "to be continued."
For Ashley, all the work and concern is about love, her mother's need for a kidney and her own longing to give her one.
"You are supposed to give it out of love and that's what I am doing," Ashley said.
Mrs. Brown worked as a bookkeeper at Westmont Elementary School until Wednesday, the day before a family caravan left for Atlanta.
Ashley said she decided to stay out one quarter from Augusta Technical College, where she studies occupational therapy, so she and her mom can care for one another and heal at home.
They expect to be coming home from Atlanta next weekend.
"She never hesitated," Mrs. Brown said of her daughter's decision. "Never.''
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