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Efforts To Find Kidney For North Jersey Grandma Intensify

Theresa Labarck of Wayne with friends, loved ones.
Theresa Labarck of Wayne with friends, loved ones. Photo Credit: TJ Sullivan

Several years have passed since a North Jersey man began a tireless campaign to find a kidney donor for his grandmother. But TJ Sullivan isn't giving up.

Theresa Labarck, 69, of Wayne "is one of the strongest women I know," said Sullivan, of Saddle Brook. "Her positive attitude and determination to stick around for her family has kept her alive this long."

It's also kept Sullivan pursuing all avenues to keep the spotlight on LaBarck -- aka "Mommom" -- who for the past three decades has lived with polycystic kidney disease (PKD).

His efforts include a recently-launched GoFundMe campaign to find "A Kidney For Momom" and help pay for medical expenses that insurance doesn't cover.

PKD creates fluid-filled cysts that cause kidneys to enlarge and eventually lose function. The results include high blood pressure, kidney stones, urinary tract infections, aneurysms and back pain.

LaBarck, who's currently in renal failure, is listed with the Organ Transplant Living Donor Program at Hackensack University Medical Center, Sullivan said. She has dialysis three times a week.

"Unfortunately, time is not on our side," her grandson said.

Sullivan was tested to be a donor but couldn't because of hypertension. So he continues to stage community fundraisers while researching the disease.

For her part, LaBarck has said a transplant would give her "more freedom and the ability to live a longer, healthier, more normal life. A transplant would also give me more time to do the fun things I enjoy most, like spending time with my family and friends.

"However, finding a kidney for a transplant is not easy," said the Paterson native, who moved to Wayne nearly 20 years ago. "Unfortunately, time is not on my side. Some wait for years; and many die while waiting. However, there is another option: receiving a kidney from a living donor.

"Asking a family member or a friend to consider donating a kidney to me is difficult, but it greatly improves my chances of getting a transplant," she said. "A living kidney donation typically lasts longer and has better function."

Her grandson, for one, hopes word of mouth and media coverage create that opportunity.

GoFundMe: A Kidney For Momom


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