August 20, 2008

clip_image001_000Linda Padilla, Postmaster of the Ellicottville Post Office, donated her kidney to Julie Wolf of Olean on August 20, 2008. She had met Linda through the website The WNY Kidney Connection was founded by Jeanette Ostrom of Jamestown and has helped several people in need of finding matching kidney donors. The purpose of the foundation is to eliminate long waiting lists and hence painful dialysis time for people in need of a kidney transplant. Before this movement it was illegal in NY State to find a matching kidney donor online.

“I saw the ad in The Villager for Kenny Woodfield who was in need of a kidney and I called his mother Jan to find out about donating to him,” Linda said in an interview with The Villager. After some discussion they decided it wasn’t a probable match because of the age difference between Linda and Kenny so Jan directed her to the website

Linda did some research on the site and zoned in on Julie. After much contemplation and discussion with her family, she decided to contact Julie; they exchanged some emails and a phone conversation, then met for lunch.

Linda laughs in hindsight: “When I was pulling up to meet Julie I had a brief anxiety attack and said to myself, what if I don’t like her?! I’m not going to give my kidney to someone I don’t like,” she chuckled.  “We (Julie and Linda) laugh about that now.”

Linda started testing in March and the tests ran through July when they set a tentative date for August 20, 2008. The surgery went as planned and Linda was out by the 23rd.

“The funny thing is, I had just signed the paperwork for my new house on August 7,” Linda made note. “I had to be moved out and into a new house 13 days before my surgery!” (After surgery patients are not allowed to lift anything for about 10 weeks.) With the help of her own and Julie’s family, Linda was successfully moved into her new house in Olean. “It’s just been a riot,” Linda laughed again, describing the boxes around her house that were randomly packed and scattered.

As for the experience of donating she says, “I would recommend it to anyone. I am so surprised by how little pain the experience actually entailed and the staff at Buffalo General Hospital is just wonderful.”

Both Linda and Julie, a managing director of Interfaith Caregivers in Olean, are doing great after the transplant.

If you live in Ellicottville and have missed Linda in the Post Office, she will be back in a few months. If you are interested in learning more about the kidney donation process, check The WNY Kidney Connection just became an affiliate of The National Kidney Foundation of WNY.