Group supports organ transplant patients during the holidays

SEATTLE- Michelle Moulton and her son are getting ready for their big Christmas feast.  The ornaments are all hung, presents under the tree, but the gift Michelle is waiting for won't be unwrapped tomorrow.

“It was really devastating.  I knew I was having kidney issues but when I got into a nephrologist it was a shock,” said Moulton.

In 2010, Michelle had a liver transplant after waiting seven years for an organ donor.  She just found out a combination of pancreatitis and the anti-rejection medication contributed to kidney damage and now she needs another transplant.

“The big question-is this my last Christmas? Every year becomes more precious and this could be it,” said Moulton.  “I think about it every day.”

David Hall received a kidney transplant in 2009.  He is the founder of the Pacific Northwest Chapter of TRIO, a group that supports those waiting on organ transplants and their families, some who travel from out-of-state to be here.

“Many times you have the Ronald McDonald house but it can be full and so they have to live in the community, so we help them find affordable housing and bring them meals,” said Hall.

TRIO volunteers drive patients to appointments, and around the holidays deliver gift baskets and cards to those in the hospital.  Right now, in our state there are 2,100 people waiting for an organ transplant and nationwide it’s more than 150,000.

“Imagine being at Century Link Field filled to capacity looking over the edge and seeing another 50,000 people in line, and every 12 minutes someone’s added to the line,” said Hall.

Michelle Moulton says she will soon go on dialysis, but is hopeful she can receive a kidney from a family member or friend rather than go on a wait list.

TRIO is always looking for volunteers.  They provide travel vouchers to families and holds monthly support groups, as well as works with the legislature when needed.