Healing through family: organ recipient and donor family meet

PARIS, Ky. (WTVQ) – Family is truly what brings us all together.

For Sarah Trumbo of Paris, family is what is most important to her. She is mother to two children–her son James Trumbo and daughter Sylvia Black–and a grandmother to three young grandchildren.

In 2005, she was diagnosed with IgA nephropathy, or Berger’s Disease, a life-threatening hereditary kidney condition that limits a kidney’s ability to filter waste from the body’s blood. Trumbo says she inherited it from her father, who died from it when he was just 35 years old.

Trumbo’s daughter, Sylvia Black, remembers the struggles Trumbo endured as she was fighting the disease.

“Mom had no life. None whatsoever. Her life revolved around her going to dialysis treatment. She still had no life on family vacations because we had to make sure we were near a dialysis treatment center,” said Black.

Trumbo lived for 14 years with the condition without knowing how long she had to live, undergoing treatment, including a failed kidney transplant. In 2019, Trumbo underwent another transplant that finally worked, but not without its difficulties. Trumbo says she had to go through another surgery due to a complication, and recovery from the entire process took two excruciating months. However, the kidney took.

On September 10th in Louisville through Donate Life Kentucky, Trumbo and her family were able to meet the family of the donor who gave her a second chance at life.

“It was amazing. When I got to hug his mother, it just felt like it was a bond, right then and there,” said Trumbo.

Adam Ricketts of Elizabethtown died tragically on May 19, 2019 of a severe and unexpected stroke at age 35. According to his girlfriend, Adam had a sweet disposition and a sense of humor; he could brighten anyone’s day. His parents talked about his life and their decision to donate his organs while holding their grandson and Adam’s nephew, “AJ,” who is named after him.

“He’d be the first one to tell me, ‘dad let’s do this,” said Johnny Ricketts.

For the Ricketts family, meeting Trumbo and Adam’s two other organ recipients and their families was a healing experience.

“Sarah had the warmest hug. And even though it was COVID, and we were socially distanced, she asked me if she could hug me. Of course. And I felt Adam’s presence there with me,” said Leslie Ricketts.

Trumbo is now looking forward to a long, happy life and enjoying spending time with her children and three grandchildren.

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