Topeka woman receives kidney transplant on Christmas

Wanda Barrett - Photo Courtesy KSHB-TV

Kansas City, MO (KSHB/KSNT) – Sixty-seven-year-old Wanda Barrett of Topeka celebrated Christmas a little different, spending it at Saint Luke’s Hospital.

“They said, ‘We’re pretty sure we have a good kidney for you,’” Barrett said.

Barrett was waiting on a kidney transplant.

“I’ve had high blood pressure, which led to it, then developed diabetes,” she said. “And then I had cancer and was on strong chemo.”

Barrett had been on dialysis since 2013.

“Sometimes when I would finish dialysis, I would be fine and I could go about a regular schedule and other times, I just felt wiped out,” Barrett said.

While on the transplant list, doctors checked to see when she’d be healthy enough to receive one.

“Wanda actually came in a couple of weeks before,” Barrett’s transplant surgeon, Dr. Lee Cummings said. “She had pneumonia and I told her at the time that it’s better not to do it now, you’ll get an organ soon enough.”

And she did, on Christmas Day.

“I, of course, didn’t know when it was going to come but being on Christmas Day was extra special,” Barrett said.

Barrett was one of three patients who received kidney transplants from organ donors on Christmas.

“I can’t stress it enough, every year thousands of people die who could potentially be donors and similarly there are more thousands of people who die because they can’t get an organ,” Cummings said.

It’s a gift Barrett will always remember.

“Every Christmas Day from now on, I’ll remember this time and this day because it was a nice, such a blessed gift,” she said.

Barrett was able to go home on Friday. She said it’ll be a journey, but she’s forever grateful.

Saint Luke’s Hospital has done 80 kidney transplants so far this year.

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