Daughter Donated Kidney to Carper

By Kersey, Lori | The Charleston Gazette (Charleston, WV), April 19, 2019 | Go to article overview

Daughter Donated Kidney to Carper


Kersey, Lori, The Charleston Gazette (Charleston, WV)


Kanawha County Commission President Kent Carper was on one waiting list for a kidney and was hoping to get on another, but ultimately it was his own daughter who provided his life-saving organ donation.

"What can you say when someone is that courageous? Carper said of his daughter, Virginia Carper Martin. "I don't have words. She now is really interested in being an advocate for this. She sees just what it does to people, and how it can turn people's lives around. The whole family.

Carper was diagnosed with kidney failure after a routine physical exam three or four years ago turned up some irregularities, he said.

His condition had worsened in the past 18 months, he said.

Carper Martin, who works as a hairdresser in South Charleston, told Carper she was going to do the testing to be a living donor and began the process in January. Carper didn't like the idea.

"My dad was 100 percent against it, Carper Martin said. "He forbade me. So like any good daughter, I did it anyway.

Carper was on Charleston Area Medical Center's kidney donor waiting list and was trying to get on the list at the University of Kentucky's medical center when he found out Carper Martin was a "perfect match for the donation.

The father and daughter found out about a week before the surgery that it would be Saturday at CAMC General.

"[It was] probably the longest week in our family's life, Carper said.

He was released from the hospital Wednesday. Carper Martin was released from the hospital Monday.

"My dad was so hugely grateful, Carper Martin said. "He said he didn't have any words.

He lauded the CAMC Transplant Center as the "best-kept secret in town and praised doctors Joseph Africa, Abdul R. Zanabli and Alvin Wee. Surgeons Wee and Africa work for the Cleveland Clinic, though Africa works full-time at the CAMC Transplant Center. Wee performs the surgeries on living donors, including Carper Martin.

"The transplant facility at CAMC is a miracle, and the nurses, the staff, everyone just treated us very graciously, Carper said. "I could have gone anywhere. There's these huge facilities that do this all over the country. I could have done that, but I chose right here.

Carper Martin said the transplant team at CAMC were amazing. She said the procedures were conducted near simultaneously in connecting operating rooms. She said that once the kidney was removed from her body and implanted into her father's body that it wasn't long before it began to work. …

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