Nicole Gaborek saw a Facebook post from a local radio station that asked for a kidney from a live donor. When she followed up on the idea, it turned out that she was a match for the individual who needed a new organ. On December 4, just three months after starting this process, her kidney was transplanted to Rachel Schultz.
Gaborek is a police officer serving in Lakemoor, IL, which is not too far from Rockford. Schulz is a Navy veteran who was suffering from chronic kidney disease.
Schulz was diagnosed with IgA nephropathy, or Berger’s disease, after doctors noticed a rise in her blood pressure and other symptoms of the condition. She was initially treated with immune suppressants, but it only took a few months before dialysis was necessary.
Dialysis Felt Like a Prison to Schulz
Schulz says she used to travel the world, but the requirement of having repetitive dialysis treatments wore her down. She was on a list to receive a kidney if an organ donor passed away. It was an outcome that could have taken years.
The Rush Living Donor Program has the highest transplant patient survival rates in the Chicago area. They also helped Schulz eventually connect with Gaborek.
Both women were discharged from the hospital within days of the procedure. They’re doing quite well from a health standpoint, and they have a friendship that they say will last for a lifetime.
The Living Donor Protection Act in Illinois took effect on January 1, 2020. It prohibits employers from retaliating against workers who request leave to provide a living donation.