By OPEC Staff

Renee Wooldridge of the Prison Industrial Authority (PIA) is dealing with one of the toughest health problems in our society – the need for a kidney transplant.

She must undergo sometimes painful 8-hour dialysis treatment every night after a full day’s work as an Office Technician. And she also cares for two grandchildren, ages 5 and 7.

“I get tried fast,” she said. “Through all this I continue to work. It is not easy.”

Wooldridge kidney

Renee Wooldridge

But she is not bitter or resentful of her plight.

“I don’t like to complain because it can be worse,” she said. “I’m thankful for where I am.

“I guess it is the will of God that I can get around as well as I can. I see others who are in much worse shape. Very few are like me in being able to continue to work.”

However, she hopes and prays for a kidney transplant that will free her of the dialysis, pain and fatigue.

“I like to live life, not have life live me,” she said.

Renee has been on a waiting list through the UC Davis Transplant Center since October 2012.

If you are interested in helping Renee, please call Sharon Stencel, Registered Nurse, at (916) 734-3295 or go to . (This website may be viewable from a CDCR computer.)

Kidney disease occurs when the kidneys become damaged and lose their ability to filter the blood, according the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC). Kidney disease can happen quickly as the result of severe illness, injury or poisoning, but most often develops slowly and silently until the kidneys have nearly failed. The two most common causes of kidney disease are diabetes and high blood pressure.

Left untreated, kidney disease can lead to kidney failure. People with severe kidney failure must undergo dialysis or have a kidney transplant to stay alive, the CDC reports.

More than 8 million Americans have a major loss in kidney function. Of those, nearly 400,000 require dialysis or a kidney transplant to stay alive.

Because there may be no symptoms until the kidneys have nearly failed, many people do not know they have kidney disease. The only way to find out is to have a blood or urine test, the CDC reports.

There is no cure for kidney disease, but effective treatments exist to slow or prevent progression to kidney failure, the CDC reports.