Kidney Recipient: Pulls Out All The Stops To Find A Donor

When Chandra Davis needed a new kidney, she extended her search far and wide – even displaying stickers on the vehicles of family and friends. On May 25, she received a kidney transplant.

Donna Fields describes her youngest child, and only daughter as one of the “kindest most loving people you’d ever meet.”

As a former pediatric nurse, for 17 years, Chandra Davis was known to do whatever it took to make her patients comfortable. She graduated from Franklin Central and was attending IUPUI when she was diagnosed with strep throat. Under the care of IU Health nephrologist Dr. Tim E. Taber, Davis was eventually diagnosed with glomerulonephritis, an inflammation in the tiny kidney filters. She completed her associate’s degree at Marian University and went on to obtain her BSN from the University of Indianapolis.

The symptoms persisted – including back pain and blood in her urine. Twenty years after her initial diagnosis she returned to IU Health to meet with Dr. Taber again. This time – with her kidney function at only 15 percent – she learned that she either needed a new kidney or she would begin dialysis.

In April of 2016, Davis, who has been married to Scott for 20 years, and the mother of two teen-age sons – Kobe and Kaden – was listed for a kidney. She immediately began working with a network of supporters including her mom, dad, Larry Fields, brothers, Mark and Mike Amos and a host of friends, to locate a match. 

“It was a shock when she said she was in kidney failure. She never showed any symptoms, never slowed down,” said Donna Fields. Davis continued to work, many days using a heating pad to soothe her back pain.

But once they learned the news, friends and family members began pulling out all the stops. Many tried to become donors, but were not suitable matches. Friends started a Facebook page “Chandra’s Crusade,” and distributed bumper stickers that read: “Life Saving Kidney Needed for Chandra Davis,” and included a phone number.

They received a few calls but the perfect match came from a friend Brandi Baxter.

“I can’t say enough about Brandi. Before she was tested, I was frustrated. It took about six months for each person who was tested,” said Davis. She was on dialysis, unable to leave the house and was missing work and her sons’ activities. High school friends decorated her yard with posters showing words of encouragement, and the youngest of her supporters – a third-grader – raised funds with a lemonade stand.

“I can’t say enough about the doctors and nurses and my transplant coordinators – Josephine “Cissy” Brents, and Janel Lee,” said Davis. “My advice to patients who are waiting is to be patient, don’t lose faith, and be creative in getting the word out.”

And what about her nursing career? “I think I’d like to work in transplant. I’ve learned so much from my experience that I think I can be a positive influence on others.”

— By T.J. Banes, Associate Senior Journalist at IU Health.
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 T.J. Banes or on Twitter @tjbanes.