A Winchester Woman Is Doing Whatever It Takes to Find an Organ Donor
When Kara Yimoyines was diagnosed with lupus at age 16, she didn’t tell anybody. She opened up to close friends and family in the years that followed, but was always private about her illness—until now.
Kidneys severely weakened by lupus, Yimoyines is in immediate need of an organ donor. And out of necessity, she’s decided to take her search public.
“I have nothing left to lose,” says the Winchester resident, a single mom of three. “The other choice was to go on dialysis for six to eight years, waiting for a deceased kidney through the national network, and I didn’t want to do that.”
Yimoyines first looked for a donor within her immediate social circle. She found a few promising potential matches, but ultimately struck out. With few other options to speak of, Yimoyines posted her plight to her personal Facebook page, then to the Town of Winchester Facebook page. From there, her story was picked up by Wicked Local Winchester, and received a near-immediate response from the community.
“A lot of people in my community were surprised when I went public, because I don’t tend to share it,” Yimoyines says. “I’ve been very fortunate that lupus truly hasn’t affected my life in a very significant way. I don’t present as if I’m very sick.”
Surprised though they may have been, Yimoyines says members of the community, including many she didn’t even know personally, have volunteered to be potential donors. A group went through the first round of testing last week, but the search isn’t over yet.
Unfortunately, finding a match for Yimoyines is difficult. She has Type O blood, meaning her donor must also be Type O. On top of that, lupus—an autoimmune disease that makes the body attack its own healthy tissues—causes Yimoyines’ body to produce extra antibodies, further narrowing her pool of potential matches.
“Because I generate an unusual number of antibodies for myself and toward others, I will reject 50 percent of Type Os,” she says.
As such, Yimoyines continues to cast as wide a net as possible, knowing that there’s a good chance she’ll have to keep searching for a donor match. There’s even a Facebook group, A Kidney for Kara, dedicated to the cause.
Though it was difficult for Yimoyines to take her private struggle out into the world, she remains upbeat and humbled by the support of strangers and acquaintances alike.
“I’ve always been an athlete and have built my identity around being strong, so I never wanted to be perceived as being weak or sick,” she says. “That being said, I’m thrilled and kind of overwhelmed with the outpouring of support. My community has come through in a very big way.”
If you’d like to volunteer for donor testing, email Yimoyines at firstname.lastname@example.org.