ATLANTA — Constance Collins is in for the fight of her life. She is hopeful coming home to Atlanta will help save it.
Constance is traveling back to Georgia from South Africa where she teaches international students.
She has been in the hospital a lot lately. Her kidney function has plummeted to nearly zero. A kidney transplant is the only real solution. She’s searching for a perfect kidney match – a donor with an O+ blood type.
“I’m in desperate need of a new kidney, and I am searching for a donor," she explained to 11Alive. "My kidney function is basically zero - only REAL solution is transplant.”
Her medical team at Piedmont Hospital in Atlanta will take over when she gets home. But it's been her fiancé’ who has been helping care for her.
Constance met the love of her life, Matthew Steuer, when she first began her international travels. They became engaged during the lockdown.
Despite all her health struggles, Constance is currently working toward earning her second Master’s degree from Harvard’s school of education. A donor would save Constance’s life and allow her and Matthew to build their life - together.
“I had to return to Uganda to teach, so we are sadly apart again,” Matthew told 11Alive. “But what we wish for now is a transplant. That will make this separation so much easier to bear – just knowing she is getting what she needs so we can share the rest of our lives and many more adventures together."
“Constance is truly an amazing human being," he added, holding back tears. "She is humble, compassionate, smart, adventuresome, globally-minded, and forever striving to grow and improve while making a difference in the world. Just a beautiful heart, mind and soul."
"I was so lucky to have found her, and even luckier that she chose me,” he said.
How the live kidney donation works – and how to know if you’re a match:
Logistically, Constance’s insurance will cover the cost for candidates to get tested - to see if they’re a viable match - and the cost of surgery and aftercare. If you currently don’t reside in Atlanta, travel expenses and accommodations will be covered, as well.
The National Kidney Foundation said people can live normal lives with only one kidney. When the kidney is removed, the single normal kidney will increase in size to compensate for the loss of the donated kidney. Living donation does not change the life expectancy, and does not appear to increase the risk of kidney failure.
To get started, anyone who is considering being a donor can contact Constance’s donor coordinator for more information at 404-605-4605. Her blood type is O+ and she can only receive a donation from that blood type.
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