BLACKFOOT — Chris Cahall has a lot to be thankful for this year—she received a kidney transplant on Thanksgiving day after more than four years on the organ donation waiting list.
Cahall, 45, grew up in Blackfoot and now lives in Moore. She has been a diabetic since she was nine years old. It was about 10 years ago when her kidneys began showing signs of failure, and four and one-half years ago she went into stage 5 renal failure.
She has been on hemodialysis since, and has been patiently waiting all that time for a kidney donation.
On Nov. 17 Cahall got her first call to go to Salt Lake City for her transplant, but was sent home after the organs started to die. She was called again Nov. 22 and she and her husband Andy rushed to Salt Lake City, where Cahall was admitted to Intermountain Medical Center's Transplant Center. Two days later she received her new kidney.
Cahall does not have any information about the donor, but said she plans to write a letter to the donor's family. She was able to meet the recipient of the other kidney from the donor.
"I'm doing really well," Cahall said. "It is an incredible gift."
During her time on the wait list Cahall has helped raise awareness about organ donation, and that is something she plans to continue doing in an effort to help the thousands of other people still waiting. She also plans to raise awareness about diabetes.
She said one organ donor can save up to eight lives and improve the lives of several more through tissue donation. She believes that if someone is willing to accept a donation in their time of need, they should be willing to donate.
"There are thousands of people on the waiting list," she said.
Cahall said she is on track to be released next week to return home. Her granddaughter was born on the same day Cahall received the news that she was finally getting a transplant and she said she is looking forward to spending time with the baby and her family.
She said the doctors at Intermountain Medical Center were incredible and she expressed thanks to Doctors Fahim and Naeem Rahim at the Idaho Kidney Institute for keeping her healthy as she waited for her transplant.
Cahall's friends are seeking donations to assist Chris and Andy with expenses they have incurred while staying in Salt Lake City during Chris' recovery. Several donation cans will be set up at local businesses in Blackfoot and donations can also be made at any Bank of Commerce under her name.