Mother to get kidney

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, February 2, 2005

Lola Hale gives so much to others, her daughters say, that she often neglects herself.

Now Hale’s daughters have an opportunity to do some giving of their own. They are giving their mother a chance at a longer life.

Next month, if everything goes as planned, Hale will undergo the kidney transplant needed in order to make her healthy again. The donor for the surgery will be Hale’s youngest daughter and namesake, Lola Elder.

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Elder, who lives in Fayetteville, N.C., said she was “shocked and surprised” to learn she was a donor candidate.

“I was worried my blood type wouldn’t match. Before the nurse put the IV in, I prayed so hard,” Elder said. “When they called a few days later to tell me I was a match, I was driving in the car. I screamed and thought ‘oh my God’.”

Around this same time, Elder’s older sister, Betty Webster, a Montgomery resident, learned she was also a donor candidate for her mother. The family got the news over Christmas, when Hale was again hospitalized for pneumonia.

“I was really excited about it,” Webster said. “I wanted to be the one to give mom the kidney, then Lola (Elder) said she wanted to be the one. It was finally decided that Lola should do it. I’m glad I can be a back up. When we were growing up, whenever mom did something for one of us, she would do the same for all of us.”

Sandy Fikes, Hale’s oldest daughter, said their father, Ben, has been a major support for their mother during her illness.

The news of the two kidney donors was something this family had been waiting on for a long time.

Hale’s health problems began in June of 2003, after she was hospitalized for pneumonia.

Fikes said fluid caused by the pneumonia put pressure on her mother’s heart and kidneys.

“Her body began to shut down,” said Fikes, a Selma resident. “She had congestive heart failure and her kidneys collapsed. We didn’t know if she was going to pull out of it.”

Hale stayed in the intensive care unit of Vaughan Regional Medical Center for over a month. Once she recovered, Hale underwent months of rehabilitation and had to be placed on dialysis.

For the next year, Hale’s daughters say, the medicines and multiple hospitalizations took their toll.

“It has been very rocky for her, but she always carries a smile and says she’s fine,” Fikes said. “The chemicals took her hair and she’s down to 111 pounds. She has almost no muscle mass. The medicine caused her to have some memory loss.”

“I don’t see how, but mom just keeps going. She’s a fighter,” Fikes said. “She keeps telling me ‘I’m going to get that kidney.’ I tell mom, ‘yes you are. Lola is keeping it warm till you get it.”