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Sisters are perfect match: Western Wisconsin woman donates her kidney

Published: Feb. 2, 2021 at 5:24 AM CST|Updated: Feb. 2, 2021 at 7:25 AM CST
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THORP, Wis. (WEAU) - Cancer, kidney disease, amputations, a stem cell transplant and chemo are some of the things one western Wisconsin mom has tackled over the last four years. There is one obstacle to still overcome and she is looking to her sister for help.

Just about any health challenge you can think of, Beth Vrablic has experienced it. Through it all, her sister stood by her side and now she is giving her the last piece she needs to feel complete again.

The two sisters are Beth and Lana. “Whatever she would do, I would do too,” said Beth Vrablic about her sister. Now, they need each other more than ever. “I just prayed about it and basically said Lord if you want me to do this, just keep the doors open,” said Lana Ciolkosz.

When one sister was in need, it was no surprise the other stepped in to help. “It’s really indescribable because it’s not something you can buy and it’s not something you can even wish for,” Beth added.

This whole journey started back in 2016. “I went into septic shock overnight,” Beth said. The 34-year-old mom of three was rushed to the hospital. “I didn’t really believe that it was her when they took me into the ICU, you couldn’t recognize her,” Lana said.

Beth was in a coma for 10 days. “Then I woke up and I was literally paralyzed, I could barely even blink, that was the only way I could communicate was blinking,” Beth said. Over the next few months she went through 6 amputation surgeries on her feet and toes. “This hit us all like a ton of bricks, what is going on,” Beth added.

She was on the road to recovery, but her kidneys were failing. “The kidney biopsy revealed a disease called Amyloidosis which is a rare bone marrow disease that is most commonly found in 50-70 year old men,” Beth said.

The 36-year-old started chemo for amyloidosis and that’s when doctors discovered she had bone marrow cancer. In 2020 she qualified for a stem cell transplant. The treatment put her disease and cancer in remission, which means it was time for a new kidney. “My sister had come forth long before this and said when can I give you my kidney,” Beth said.

Lana got tested and the outcome was more than they both could have asked for. “Well it turns out, it was not only a good match, it was a perfect match, it was a 6/6 antigen match,” Beth said.

The perfect match for the perfect pair of sisters. “We’ve shared a lot of stuff, we used to share a bedroom and then made the other bedroom Barbie world,” Lana added.

From Barbie world to the transplant wing at Mayo, they’re in it together. “I’m going to feel a lot better, so I am excited to use my new energy to do something positive,” Beth said. She plans to focus on her family, friends, and her faith. “I feel like God has given me this whole thing for a story to glorify him,” Beth said.

Their kidney transplant surgeries are scheduled for later in February. After the procedure, Beth will still have a lifetime of chemo to keep both diseases under control. But for the first time in year, Beth will be able to feel better, all thanks to her sister.

Beth was fortunate to have Lana be a perfect match and donate her kidney. In the U.S. there are 90,000 people waiting for a kidney donation according to Donate Life America.

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