A letter to the family of the child who saved her life

Street Stories

BARRINGTON, R.I. (WPRI) — Tishawna Dunphy never knew she’d get the chance to write the letter.

“There are no words to describe how sorry I am,” she wrote. “Thank you for giving me another chance to live.”

Around the time her second child was born, Dunphy was diagnosed with Focal Segmental Glomerulosclerosis (FSGS).

The kidney disease put her on a dialysis machine three times a week for about four hours per session, and the donor waitlist.

“It was depressing,” she said. “Devastating.”

In November, a 4 a.m. phone call from a hospital ended her four-year wait.

Dunphy was stunned when the caller said, “We have a kidney for you.”

“They asked, how fast can you get here?” Dunphy said. “I’m putting on my clothes. I can get there right now.”

Eyewitness News first met Dunphy as she was preparing for an art exhibit using pieces she painted while she was hooked up to the dialysis machine.

After what she calls a white-knuckle drive to Boston, she offered some motivation for the doctors and nurses in the operating room.

“I told the surgeons, ‘You guys are going to save my life,'” Dunphy said. “When I first woke up, I was like, ‘I made it.'”

She felt the difference nearly right away.

“I had this sensation and I felt energized. Something in me that said, girl, you got a new lease on life. Let’s get this going.”

As days without dialysis and the restrictive diet that comes with kidney issues became history, Dunphy started focusing on that letter.

The page of appreciation will be forwarded to the family of the child who passed away so that she could live.

She knows almost nothing about the donor, but a local organization will deliver it.

As a mother of two, Dunphy hopes the child’s parents can appreciate what she sees in her donor.

“This is proof my child is living beyond this trauma,” Dunphy said. “My child is able to help another person continue their life even though he wasn’t able to continue his.”

Email Walt at wbuteau@wpri.com with your story ideas and follow us on Twitter: @StreetStories12 and @wbuteau.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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