by Nick Dean – Jamestown Post Journal
February 3, 2008
Falconer resident Judy Roach did not hesitate when her older brother needed a kidney.
The youngest of five siblings, Roach was a close enough match to become a living donor for her brother — having surgery in October 2006. But because of the operation, Roach could not participate in the West Palm Beach Marathon, which she had been training to run at the time.
Fully recuperated, Roach — and her husband Jim — did more than just run the marathon in December 2007. The couple used the run as a way to raise money for the Western New York Kidney Connection.
‘‘While we were talking one day, we decided it would be nice to do something more than just run the marathon,’’ Jim said. ‘‘We figured we could raise money for some cause and with Judy having just donated a kidney, we started looking for a kidney-related organization and then ran into Jeanette Ostrom.’’
Based in Jamestown, the Western New York Kidney Connection has been online for close to a year and a half — with 38 individuals currently listed on the group’s Web site as needing kidneys. Ostrom is co-founder of the organization.
‘‘I had no qualms about being tested,’’ Judy said about becoming a donor. ‘‘My brother, Greg Salva, he’s the oldest of five and I’m the youngest of five. I’m the closest living to him and so I volunteered to go first. It just happened to be that I was a close enough match for him and we went ahead with the surgery. Obviously, I love my brothers very much. I would do anything for any of them, but he was the first one who needed something like this.’’
Running the West Palm Beach Marathon in December, Jim and Judy Roach raised more than $2,000 for the WNY Kidney Connection. According to Judy, running the marathon went fine.
‘‘I’m a runner and I’m able to do all my normal activities that I did prior to donating the kidney,’’ Roach said. ‘‘There were no side effects or anything like that. I recuperated very well. People should know that they can do something like this. It doesn’t have to be a kidney. People can do something to help somebody else’s life without it affecting them health-wise. I don’t feel any different as a person.’’
One of the Kidney Connection’s foremost messages is about people becoming living donors. Describing it as a ‘‘selfless gift,’’ there is more information about becoming a donor online at the group’s Web site — www.wnykidneyconnection.org.
The WNY Kidney Connection is a free site where potential living kidney donors and people in need of a kidney can communicate with one another. The Web site was set up by ‘‘Women on a Mission’’ members and includes Patti Merritt of Grand Island, Diane Krzyzanowski of Akron, Jeanette Ostrom of Jamestown and Tina Long of Buffalo. The Web site also includes follow-up information from those who have been.