CHARLESTON, WV (WOAY) – “She immediately stepped up to donate while she was alive.”
In the fall of 2019, Jama Maczko was diagnosed with kidney failure. Upon receiving that news, Jama’s sister, Vicki Harris, a practicing nurse, immediately offered to be evaluated as a potential donor.
“At first she wasn’t quite aware of what the numbers meant,” said Harris’s Medical Attorney and sister Samantha Stone. “She was talking to Vicki, who was a nurse. And Vicki told her that she was in kidney failure.”
In January of 2020, right as Vicki was starting her tests as a potential living donor, she suffered a brain aneurysm.
“That whole week, we had to wonder if she was going to even make it,” Maczko said.
Vicki passed away after that week. She had been registered as a donor for many years, but the having to make that call wasn’t easy on her family.
“We knew Jama needed the kidney,” Stone said. “We knew Vicki wanted her to have the kidney. But still having to make that decision is a tough one.”
Immediately after Vicki passed, her organs were evaluated for donation. Because of her and her family’s preparation, Jama was able to have a successful transplant in Atlanta.
“I was ready,” Maczko said. “I didn’t have to go through any additional testing. They just had to test her kidney.”
Jamie, Vicki and Samantha are three of six total sisters. Having lost another sister at a young age, this donation is about love. In passing and in survival.
“Losing a sister is hard,’ Stone said. “But, I didn’t lose two sisters.”
Jamie’s wasn’t the only life that Vicki saved through her donation.
“Another kidney was able to save a life of another woman around the same age as myself,” Stone said. “Her liver was transplanted and she was able to restore sight to two people as well.”
And on National Donor Day one year later, Stone and Maczko agree that what Vicki’s giving represents cannot be quantified.
“What it means to me is giving somebody else a second chance at life.”
“She gave the ultimate gift. And that was the gift of life.”