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Living with someone else's kidney

POSTED: April 15, 2008 5:00 a.m.
Photo provided / Coastal Courier/

Shirley Ransom

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A Hinesville resident is proof of the advances made in medicine over recent years.
Shirley Ransom has entered her fourth year after a kidney transplant.
According to the National Kidney Foundation, approximately 26 million Americans have chronic kidney disease and another 20 million more are at increased risk.  
High-risk groups include people with diabetes, hypertension and a family history of kidney disease. African-Americans, Hispanics, Pacific Islanders, Native Americans and the elderly are at increased risk.
Early detection, however, can help prevent the progression of kidney disease to kidney failure. Furthermore, many people who have kidney disease receive kidney transplants. In recent years, the success rates of kidney transplants have increased tremendously.     
Many people in Liberty County have experienced the adverse effects of kidney problems, but have been fortunate to receive kidney transplants. They no longer have to visit the dialysis center several times a week for treatment. These kidney recipients are grateful to be given another chance to enjoy life.
One such recipient is Shirley Ransom of Hinesville. Ransom was diagnosed with kidney problems in 1997. A native of West Point, Miss. (and reared in St Louis, Mo.), she and her husband (Rev. Rudolph Ransom) came to Hinesville in 1989. A 1979 military retiree, Rev. Ransom relocated to Hinesville for a civil service position on Fort Stewart.  
Prior to coming to the Hinesville area, Shirley Ransom taught at an elementary school for 10 years. She also operated her own day care center for 15 years.  
For seven years, Shirley Ransom attended the dialysis center in Hinesville three times weekly. Since Mrs. Ransom and her husband love to travel, she would make arrangements with the dialysis center in whatever city she was visiting so she would not miss her treatment. "I did not have to change my way of living too much. I had a wonderful network system," she said.
Things changed for the better in February 2004.
"I received a telephone call from the Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville on Feb. 28. On Feb. 29 (which was a leap year), I received the kidney transplant," Ransom said.
She spent a week in the hospital and then was released.
"I had to stay in Jacksonville so they could monitor me," she said.
She and her husband spent another month in a hotel near the clinic in Jacksonville.
"Initially, I had an appointment every day, and then they started seeing me three to four times weekly."
Ransom said during her illness, she had an excellent support group.
"My husband retired to support me," she said.
Rev. Ransom retired from civil service in 2000.
"God blessed me with a lot of help, and I am forever grateful to Him. I give Him all the glory."  
"I recently had my annual checkup. It has been four years since my transplant, and this is another leap year. I am feeling good and the doctors said I am doing well," said Ransom.  
These days, the Ransom continue to travel. Dr. Ransom is the pastor of Helping Hand Baptist Church in Savannah. They have six children and 13 grandchildren.
She enjoys puzzles and reading. "You can still have a normal life," Ransom said.
 

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