Suamico woman gets new kidney, encouraging others to become donors

Experts say 100,000 people waiting for donor
Posted at 10:58 PM, Apr 20, 2017
and last updated 2017-04-21 00:01:07-04

In January we introduced you to Cathy Strom, a Suamico woman in desperate need of a kidney donor.

Last month, her prayers were answered after her message went viral on social media

Now, as experts say 100,000 people are still waiting for donors, she's urging others to help save a life. 

Strom's battle with kidney disease has lasted a lifetime.

"I've been dealing with kidney disease since I was small," says Strom, sitting on her living room couch with her husband and family dog by her side. "It went south a year ago." 

When her kidney's failed a year ago, the struggle to stay alive intensified. 

"I was put on peritoneal dialysis in June of last year," says Strom. "I'd do it at home for 9 hours." 

Strom says her husband Paul has been there through it all.

"Paul was my rock," smiles Strom. "His saying was 'don't get down, it's too hard to get up.'"

Strom's turning point came with a phone call in February, months after she and her husband displayed their request for a kidney donor in stencils on the backs of their cars. 

Pictures of their cars blew up on Facebook, and in February, Strom finally got the call she had been waiting so long for. 

"She said, 'I saw your husband's car,'" recalls Strom, referring to an anonymous donor from the area that was determined to be a match.

One month later on March 23rd, Strom and her anonymous donor were prepped for surgery at UW Madison Hospital.

"I was up that same day walking... [and] he went home two days later," smiles Strom. "She was my angel."

Now, Strom says she has a new lease on life.

"I can have anything now--absolutely anything," beams Strom. "I'm not tired. I have so much energy," she adds as she prepares to take her loveable, energetic Goldendoodle, Ben, for a walk.  

Cathy's success story is inspiring her to share it with the world, and with that, she's spreading the message to others to consider be a donor.

"Go forward and be a donor for someone else," pleads Strom. "Save a life." 

To learn more about how to become a kidney donor, Strom encourages everyone to learn more through the National Kidney Registry website.