WESTON — The Hospitals of the Mon Health System (MHS) collaborate throughout the year with The Center for Organ Recovery & Education (CORE) to provide hope for recipients, and to make a difference in patients’ lives. CORE named August 1, 2021 as West Virginia Donor Day. The date was specifically selected because eight lives can be saved by just one donor, hence 8/1.
On that day, MHS and CORE encouraged West Virginians to support organ, eye and tissue donation, and to educate and encourage everyone to register as organ donors. There are hundreds of West Virginians waiting for an organ transplant but there is a shortage of donors. This campaign hits close to home since one of those West Virginians waiting for a transplant is a Mon Health employee.
Forty-four-year-old Carrie Herndon Mace is Director of Operations of Mon Health Equipment & Supplies office, in Weston. She is a Braxton County resident, who has lived with diabetes since she was five years old. For 39 years she has been using insulin.
“I have always felt that I was lucky to have been diagnosed so young,” explained Mace. “I did not have poor eating habits, so it was easy for me to eat properly. Unfortunately, I am a ‘brittle diabetic’ which means I go from extreme highs to extreme lows, which affects the control of my sugar. My medical issues started about eight to ten years ago with diagnoses of retinopathy (impairment or loss of vision), neuropathy, and nephropathy (kidney disease.)
In August 2020 her kidney functions began decreasing and she went from Stage Three to Stage Four kidney disease. There are only five stages. It was suggested that she begin the process of registering in the organ donation program (for the transplant waiting list) with the hopes of getting both a kidney and a pancreas (the pancreas controls one’s glucose.) On March 26, 2021, she was placed on the transplant waiting list.
“I could get a call at any time to tell me there is a donor, which is nerve wracking. But if I am able to receive both the kidney and pancreas, I could be free of the diabetes after the transplant. The operation takes about eight hours and seven to ten days to recover in the Hospital. Then my husband and I will have to stay within an hour of the hospital for a month for follow-ups and any other issues,” she explained.
Though she has had an insulin pump which provides continuous glucose monitoring, she still has to calibrate it with a finger stick two or three times a day. She said that it is a daily battle. The thought of awaking from the operation and being diabetes-free within a day is overwhelming for Carrie.
“The thought of no longer being a diabetic really gave me the incentive to do this. It will really improve my life. It is fortunate that my husband is committed to help me on this journey,” she concluded.
Carrie’s parents are Pam Mace, of Heaters, and Butch Herndon, of St. Albans. She and her husband, Sam, have a real love of horses. Carrie’s one Tennessee Walker, Encore’s Shakin Lady has won WV Horse of the Year in its division two years in a row. She attended Braxton County High School, and graduated from Salem-Teikyo University with a bachelor of science in public health.
Mon Health encourages the public to find out more about donating life. For more information or to register as an organ donor, visit http://www.core.org or call 1-800-DONORS-7.