YORKTOWN, Va. – At the age of 66, Laurie Cooper is in a race against time before her health worsens.
“The average wait is three to five years, so I’m kind of in a time crunch there,” Cooper said.
Cooper, who lives in Yorktown, has been on a kidney transplant waiting list for several months.
She said she’s had type 1 diabetes since the age of 14. She takes insulin every day, but the disease took a major toll on her organs, leaving her with heart disease and kidney failure.
“For some reason, God still has me here,” she said.
And Cooper’s not the only one looking for a lifesaving transplant. Her younger brother Paul Pietrowski in Richmond is also waiting for a donor.
Their older sister donated a kidney to Pietrowski 21 years ago, but now he needs another.
“Two siblings in the same family needing a kidney at the same time,” said Cooper. “It’s kind of ironic.”
Cooper said she’s asked everyone she knows to donate, even her daughter, but no one has been a match.
“I’ve kind of exhausted all my other means,” she said. “I’ve asked everybody I know. I’ve asked them to share my story with as many people as they can. So far, I have not had anyone come forward.”
As she continues to wait, she’s holding on to hope that the right person will come along.
“I know there’s a lot of people that believe in the donor program and I firmly believe there’s somebody out there that can help me,” Cooper said. “I just pray every day. My day will come.”
Next week, Cooper will find out when she’ll need to start dialysis.
More than 2,600 Virginians are currently waiting for a lifesaving transplant. Nearly 500 of them are on the list for a kidney in Hampton Roads.
To find out if you are a match, potential donors can click here.