Suamico woman in need of new kidney has message going viral

Cathy Strom has had kidney issues since she was 10

A Suamico woman in desperate need of a new kidney is spreading the word everywhere she goes.
 
Tonight, a message on the back of her and her husband's cars is going viral on social media.
 
Cathy Strom is a life-long fighter.
 
 "I've had kidney problems since I was about 10 years old," says Strom, sitting side-by-side with her husband, Paul, on their living room couch. On Cathy's right is their 8-year-old Labradoodle, Ben, soaking in Cathy's gentle petting. 
 
A year ago she took a turn for the worse, and went into kidney failure. But with the help of her husband she's been staying strong.
 
Currently she does in home dialysis 9 hours a night every night, using a 40+ pound machine she has become well-versed in. 
 
"I sleep during the whole thing," says an optimistic Cathy. "I hook up at night, unhook in the morning. It's been going smooth." 
 
Both Cathy and Paul also actively search for donors with massive stickers on their cars that list her blood type, phone number, and need for a kidney donor.
 
Paul has tried donating his own kidney, which wasn't a fit as determined by screening. Paul has also encouraged friends to get screened.
 
"And, he didn't know it, but he's pre-diabetic," says Paul, explaining how one family friend went into get tested for compatibility to no avail, "so they kicked him out, too." 
 
Becoming a donor starts with a blood test.
 
"Then they go through testing to make sure their heart is OK, go through CT scans, meet with the team," says Brandi Gwidt, the transplant coordinator for Aurora BayCare Medical Center. "They [also] have to go through a psych evaluation with a psychologist."
 
 
To improve her chances, Cathy and Paul decided to display their need on the backs of their vehicles with massive stencils that list her blood type, phone number, and need for a kidney donor.
 
For example, on the back of Paul's car the message reads: "BE A DONOR. BE A HERO. MY WIFE NEEDS A KIDNEY. (920) 434 0828"
 
"[He] did it for nothing because he wanted me to find a donor," says Cathy, pointing out the sticker on the back of her van. She says the gentleman that added the stencils to the car lives in Suamico, and was passionate about helping. 
 
This week a photo of Paul's car was shared on Facebook more than 24,000 times, bringing phone calls from as far as Florida.
 
Some days, having faith in the process is more difficult than others, and Cathy admits there have been times where she just feels like quitting.
 
But she refuses to, because she knows someone is out there.
 
"Because I've been trying, and my husband has been trying to get a donor. And we just so.. want someone to be a donor," says Cathy, standing next to her vehicle. "Sometimes, you get down, but you can't. And I know there's someone out there."
 
 
 
 

 

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