One Gilmer teenager needs a life-saving operation - and now her friends and family are stepping in to help.
Doctors have told 19-year-old Cortney Reid she needs a kidney transplant soon - and her friends and family are rallying around her to help raise the daunting amount needed for such an operation.
Cortney has been sick her entire life.
"When I was born, my other kidney did not develop, and the one that I had doesn't do its job," she said. "It doesn't process the proteins or filter the waste or my blood as like a normal one would."
Cortney takes at least 12 pills a day to help her kidney function. She's always had to watch what she eats and drinks, and she's never been able to play contact sports.
"When I was younger, it wasn't as bad. I mean, I've always known I would have to eventually get a transplant. And just as I got older, the creatinine levels got worse. The kidney just sort of - the function just went down and down," Cortney said. "And recently, it's been at its worst."
Doctors have told Cortney she needs a kidney transplant sooner rather than later - an operation that, even with the family's health insurance, starts at $250,000.
"And then with the transplant that she needs now, just three medications that she takes after the transplant is going to total to about $7,000 a month. And these are anti-rejection medicines so her body won't reject the kidney," said Cortney's mom, Sheila Reid.
Cortney has a fundraising account with the National Foundation for Transplants, and friends and family are trying to raise money for her by making crafts, selling cookbooks, and hosting events, like a spaghetti dinner next Thursday, September 20.
"What does it mean that everyone's rallying around you right now?" I asked Cortney.
"It means a lot. Sometimes you feel so alone in the world even when you're not. And then something like this happens and you realize that the whole world is on your side," she said.
"Her being sick, you know, as a mom, you want to just do what you can and protect your children. And so many times I have felt so helpless, because there's nothing that I myself can do for her to help her feel better," said Sheila. "Being able to work on these events and stuff makes me feel like I'm doing all that I can in every way that I can."
And now, the Reid family hopes others will step in to help Cortney, too.
Cortney's sister is being tested to see if she is a transplant match for Cortney.
The chicken spaghetti dinner for Cortney is next Thursday, September 27, from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. at the First Baptist Church in Gilmer. A crafts fair will be held in Cortney's honor on October 19 and 20 in the Brookshires and Bealls parking lot in Gilmer.
To donate directly to Cortney's transplant, visit her National Foundation for Transplants page.
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