Organ donation saves life of local man; family promotes organ donor program through letter to the community


Jennifer and Kevin Oakley with their daughter.


In a letter to the community, Jennifer Oakley shares with others the story of her husband Kevin, and how an organ donor program saved his life:

“Organ donation has made a huge impact on my family. My husband Kevin, was in an accident that eventually lead to kidney failure. We were watching him slowly die. Eventually, he had to start dialysis in order to live.

The first dialysis treatment that he went through nearly killed him. He came home that day and said that it felt as if he was a different person. That it felt like they had taken his soul away from him. He didn’t want to go back. He was sick and weak and couldn’t get out of bed. They had taken to much fluid out of his system and had severely dehydrated him. A week later we convinced him to go back. It got a little better but it was awful for him.

Three days a week he went to the dialysis clinic for three to four hours per day. He stopped making friends at the clinic because so many of the other patients were dying. It was nothing to see the nurses having to perform CPR on patients. He just kept thinking that he would be next.

A year passed and we started doing a different type of dialysis every night at home. It was difficult. He was hooked to a machine for nine to ten hours every night. He was on the transplant list for three and a half years. The excitement of ”the“call” had long passed. It felt as if it would never come.

Kevin received ”the call” one random afternoon. We had nothing packed. I was working in Paducah, and he was also in Paducah. He couldn’t remember my office number and new I would be with a patient and couldn’t answer my phone. He was so freaked out that he just drove to my office to tell me. Our daughter was in school, so I sent my uncle to get her so she could go with us. We had 5 hours to get to the UK Transplant Center and it was a four-hour drive. We had so much to do but somehow packed and headed out within an hour of “the call”.

When we arrived they had to perform a lot of tests to make sure that the kidney and pancreas were a good match for him. After a long eleven hour wait, Kevin was taken down for surgery. The wait was terrifying. When his surgeon came out to talk to me I just started to cry. He told me that his kidney started producing urine immediately and that his blood sugar had already dropped, so the pancreas was working. I hugged the Surgeon and about squeezed him to death.

It will be two years, March 11th,2019 since Kevin’s transplant. He is no longer diabetic and no longer needs dialysis!! We finally have a normal life. My daughter has her dad and I have my husband. Without an organ donation, he would have died.

Organ donation saves so many lives and keeps so many families together. I never really thought about donating my organs until my husband needed one. Please consider organ donation. It’s easy, just sign your driver’s license and let your family know your wishes. Help save a life. You can give someone a second chance.

Jennifer Oakley”