Danette Jones has been given a gift and now she wants to give back.
Back in early 2015, after not feeling well for a few years, she learned she needed a kidney transplant. She took a year off from her job in child support at HCJFS. She had endured 10 surgeries while doctors figured out exactly what was wrong.
She began looking for a kidney donor. Her daughter, was a match. But, since she had once had kidney stones, she was unable to donate. One year turned into three.
Not one to sit around, she got busy helping others. “Since I couldn’t work, I volunteered for the Kidney Foundation,” she said. She has been a promoter of organ donation, not just for herself but others in similar situations.
“It’s so important. I know so many people here and so many people who’ve retired from here, who need transplants,” Danette said. “We need to get the word out there.”
Her volunteer efforts would lead her to a kidney donor, but not exactly how you might expect.
In the spring of 2017, she was volunteering at the Dining with the Stars fundraiser, when she met Anne Rossi. They talked about Danette’s need for a kidney. And how Anne wanted to donate one. Danette wanted a picture of the two of them. Anne wrote down Danette’s name and number.
Rossi was a match, and Jones got the call in April 2017 telling her a match had been found, but not telling her who the match was. Rossi called later to identify herself as the donor. When Anne called, Danette pulled up that picture of the two of them on her phone and said she remembered Anne.
“She is my angel on earth,” said Jones. “If not for her, I wouldn’t be here. I wouldn’t be able to be around my children, grandkids and friends.”
“It makes me feel good,” said Rossi.
The transplant happened in September of 2017. In November of last year, Danette returned to work, but she hasn’t stopped volunteering and promoting organ donation. She is on billboards around town and appeared in a Kidney Foundation calendar.
Now that she’s healthy enough to participate, she’s formed a team for the Cincinnati Kidney Walk, May 19 on Fountain Square. She would like to raise $5,000, and she’s looking for team members and sponsors. You can help by visiting her team page.