Rural Missouri - January 2020 - 47
Doncella's name was added to the national organ donor list. She began what
would end up being 1 1/2 years of dialysis three times a week for three to four
hours at a time.
While she knew receiving a kidney from the donor list would mean the donor
was likely deceased, Doncella knew what she wanted.
"I prayed every day for God's peace during this ﬁght and for healing," says
Doncella, 64. "I also prayed for a kidney - and I prayed it would come from a
According to the Mayo Clinic, living-kidney donation is one of the most common types of living-donor transplant, numbering more than 6,000 donations
reported in the United States each year. But more than 113,000 people await
transplants, as reported by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services,
so the demand far outnumbers supply. Living organ donations offer a shorter
waiting time for the recipient and, in turn, extends the supply of organs for
those remaining on the national waiting list.
One night while attending a Beta Sigma Phi sorority holiday gathering, Doncella opened up and shared her health plight with her sorority sisters. Several
in the group asked how to go about getting tested as a match. One of those
ladies was longtime friend, Beverly Burch.
"It wasn't until months later that Doncella said, 'Hey, if you're still interested,
here's the name of the coordinator you can contact,' " recalls Beverly, 57. "So I
began the process and a couple of months later they told me I was a match."
Beverly, a customer service representative at Osage Valley Electric Cooperative, says numerous physical examinations were done before learning she was
a match. And now that she knew, she would be the only one who could tell
Doncella, because all testing is done anonymously.
While Beverly thought of a special way to share the news with her friend,
Doncella fought bouts of pneumonia off and on, which would move her down on
the national organ donor list and delay the possibility of receiving a transplant.
But on May 18, 2018 during a checkup, Doncella was told a perfect match had
been found and the transplant surgery could be scheduled.
"I went to the restroom, got on my knees and thanked God," says Doncella.
With surgery scheduled for June 28, it was still up to Beverly if she was going to
tell Doncella or remain anonymous.
Beverly enlisted her Osage Valley Electric co-worker and sorority sister, Jana
Rosier, to get Doncella to stop by their workplace the day before her surgery under the guise of receiving a gift from her sorority sisters. When Doncella stopped
by before her last dialysis treatment. They gave her a gift and a card, which
she opened and expected to see it signed by the group. Instead, it was signed,
"Looking forward to sharing part of my 'life' with you! Love you, Beverly."
The successful surgeries took place at St. Luke's Hospital in Kansas City.
Beverly was up walking around as soon as allowed and her ﬁrst stop was to
check on Doncella.
"I named my new kidney 'Joycey' because Joyce is Beverly's middle name,"
The duo has spoken publicly several times about their experience and hope
others will consider being a live organ donor if the opportunity arises. "You don't
have to give your life to help save someone else," says Beverly, who returned to
work only two weeks after surgery and is doing well.
Doncella also is grateful to Beverly for giving
purely because she saw a friend in need.
"I feel the world today is so racially divided,"
says Doncella, "But Beverly said she didn't see
color. She saw a friend in need.
"I meet every day with gratitude and peace these
days," she adds. "I'm so blessed."
You may contact Doncella Liggins by emailing
firstname.lastname@example.org or Beverly Burch at
Will You Help?
According to the Missouri
Department of Health &
Senior Services, organ
donation remains a public health issue despite
advancing medical technology.
Someone is added to
the national organ donor list every 10 minutes
- and on average, 20
people die each day while
waiting for the life-saving
As of July 2019, more
than 113,000 people
were waiting for a transplant on the national
waiting list according to
the U.S. Department of
Health and Human Services.
To learn more about
types of organ donations
and how to become a
living donor, check out
Beverly Burch and Doncella Liggins today
JANUARY 2020 | RURALMISSOURI.COOP
Rural Missouri - January 2020
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