LIFESAVING FRIENDSHIP: AOT MEANS ACTION WHEN A KD SISTER NEEDS KIDNEY TRANSPLANT ARTICLE BY BRIA BOLTON MOORE, NU-OKLAHOMA STATE; VIDEO INTERVIEW BY KRISTEN ARCHER, SENIOR MULTIMEDIA MANAGER They shared college boyfriend drama, AOT and the desire to leave chapter meeting early to catch their favourite TV shows, 90210 and Melrose Place. But, Sigma Lambda- Auburn sisters Susannah Jones Cleveland and Martha Juneman Dazzio never imagined they'd share a kidney. Susannah was 22 and in graduate school at Auburn when she learned her headaches and high blood pressure were pointing to polycystic kidney disease, a genetic disease her father and grandmother also had. Susannah and Martha shared a house, and they stood next to each other in the den as Susannah received the news. Click here in the digital edition of the Angelos or go to www.kappadelta.org/stories to view Susannah and Martha's KD story and other videos. "We are there for each other and not just for those four years but for life." – MARTHA JUNEMAN DAZZIO "We kind of had a foreshadowing then that one day, she was probably going to have to deal with this and need a kidney transplant," Martha recalls. Susannah managed the disease for more than two decades with blood pressure medication. "I went most of my 20s and 30s feeling good, and then around 3 2, 1 started getting really tired easily – more so than just regular-life kind of tired," Susannah says. "You just don't have the energy to do anything. And that's one of the symptoms." Susannah struggled with fatigue and anemia. She was close to starting dialysis, a treatment needed when a patient loses about 85 to 90 percent of kidney function. Susannah needed a transplant. "I remember when she told us that she needed a kidney," Martha says. "It was a text message with our old roommates, and I said, 'Well I'm going to be your match.' I knew that I was going to be her match." Susannah tried to talk her friend out of giving her a kidney. But, Martha insisted, saying Susannah would have given an organ to Martha or to one of Martha's family members if the tables had been turned. "I never asked her for it," Susannah says. "She just did it, and I think that's so selfless, because she does have a family and children still at home, a husband and a job, and yet she was willing to go through a surgery to help me. It's just amazing." Martha went through a lot of testing to make sure her kidney would function properly in Susannah's body. On the last day of testing, Martha had more than 100 blood and tissue tests performed, and nine needed to be an exact match. "If one of those nine does not match, then it can't work, and my entire panel was a match," she says. "I remember the surgeon said, 'You were meant to be this woman's donor.' " Both credit God with their friendship and the fact that the transplant worked. When Susannah was in college, a KD sister gave her a Bible verse written on a lamb-shaped Post-It note. The verse was Proverbs 3:5-6: " Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways, submit to him, and he will make your paths straight." "Even now I still have it," Susannah says of the Post-It, which she's referenced many times during her health journey. "So, it was just something that I keep referring to von know, trust in the Lord. He's got this. He's going to handle whatever comes your way – and he had Martha." "I was built by God specifically to do this for her, and to me the coolest thing was to see all the medical stuff that just came into play," Martha says. "God put us in each other's life for a reason," Susannah says. Without Martha, Susannah says she would likely have waited five to seven years for a kidney. The night before their surgeries in 2017, the two friends stayed up talking and laughing. They received lots of encouragement from KD sisters, and many green heart emojis through texts and social media messages. "All of our family was there, and they surrounded us, and we were in beds next to each other," Martha recalls. "The hospital chaplain came in and prayed with us, and we all held hands." "It was beautiful," Susannah says. The transplant was successful. "When my surgeon came out, she told me that usually it takes about six weeks for someone's kidney to start working in the recipient, and she said mine started working before they even sewed Susannah up," Martha explains. "Which means I was urinating her urine," Susannah says with a laugh. "That's how close we are," Martha says. Today, Susannah takes 36 pills a day to manage her health. Because of her disease, she has diabetes. She's lost her hair but gained a kidney. The transplant experience has deepened Susannah's and Martha's perspective on the meaning of AOT. "I think it [AOT] really defines our relationship and our friendship, because Martha has done the most wonderful thing by giving me her kidney and saving my life," Susannah says. "I think AOT is just what we do," Martha says. "You know, we are there for each other and not just for those four years but for life. [Kappa Delta] is a lifetime commitment." For Susannah and Martha, AOT is more than a way to sign emails, more than a secret acronym. It's a selfless, real, life-saving definition of their friendship. It's action.
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