'There's so much more I want to do in this life': Retired Chapel Hill teacher seeks life-saving kidney donation

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. (WTVD) -- A retired Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools teacher is hoping to receive the life-sustaining gift of a kidney donation this Christmas.

"There's so much more I want to do in this life," said Karen Reid, who retired from teaching at Morris Grove Elementary School in 2011. "I have a granddaughter I'd like to see grow up."

The week before Christmas, with the help and encouragement of friends and family, Reid publicly shared a letter looking for a donor who would be willing to help save her life.

"It took a lot of prayer because I wanted to make sure I say the right thing," said Reid, who spent months crafting the letter and doing her research on how to make such an important request. "It's just humbling to have to ask somebody for a piece of them. And I've always been a person who liked to help and give and now I'm on the other end and I need help and it's just kind of hard to ask."

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When she retired, Reid said she thought her life was coming to an end.

"I hated to leave, but I was sick and I knew I could not go on at the rate I was going," said Reid. "And I wanted to do a quality job for the children and their families. I really came home to die because things were just going so downhill."

That was nine years ago.

"I know that God had more work for me to do," she said. "He wasn't finished even though I thought I was dying."

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Reid has had Type II diabetes and complications associated with the chronic illness for nearly 30 years. Now, she said she has been diagnosed with stage four chronic kidney disease.

Her kidneys have lost 85 to 90 percent of their function, said Reid. But so far, she has been able to avoid dialysis.

In August of 2019, she was placed on UNC Medical Center's active transplant waiting list, but, according to UNC, recipients who receive a kidney from a living donor tend to have better outcomes because of the short wait time and better quality of the organ.

Reid, first lady of Cathedral of Hope in Carrboro where her husband serves as pastor, started raising funds for her health needs at the beginning of the year, but has had to put much of that on hold since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic.

"At first, I did have my pity party and then I got up and said you know what, life goes on," said Reid. "You can't just have a pity party. You gotta keep it moving."

That's what she's doing--she's moving, reaching out for help, hoping someone whose life she's touched in her community over the years will be able to give her this life-saving gift.
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