Sumter sisters both need new kidneys, for different reasons

By Susan-Elizabeth Littlefield - bio | email

SUMTER, SC (WIS) - Two Sumter women both need kidney transplants for totally different reasons. Its simply a coincidence, and its not the kind two sisters would want to share.

While Selma Tennant sat on her couch to tell you her story, her baby sister sat next to a dialysis machine. She does it three days a week, four hours at a time. "We went last week just to visit while she was doing it and just watching the tubes and the blood and filtration, everything," said Tennant. "It's odd."

It's a process Tennant may soon know about first hand. Her sister, Alison House, is on dialysis and needs a kidney. Tennant just found she does too. "I really didn't know how I feel, I was kinda in shock and she was the first one I called," said Tennant.

It turns out the two sisters both need donors at the same time for totally different reasons. House has a hereditary disease. Tennant's kidneys are breaking down because of medicines she has to take after getting a lung transplant 17 years ago because of another rare disease.

"I'm watching what she's going through and it scares me," said Tennant.

House is younger in age, but more advanced in her illness. Aside from dialysis, she has been placed on a donors list. Tennant hasn't started treatments yet, but is being worked up to become transplant-ready.

"I think it's be really neat if we could get it at the same time," said Tennant. "How strange would that be?"

Five friends and family members are being tested to see if they're a match for either. And if coincidence strikes again, the first to be born says she will go last. "If there was only one kidney for both of us, I'd want her to have it," said Tennant.

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