HOLYOKE, Mass. (WWLP) – A Holyoke woman is in search of a kidney donor, and now celebrities are even stepping in to help.
Cheri Rodriguez-Jones was diagnosed with a rare disease at 8-years-old. She went into kidney failure in 2000 at the age of 20 and received a new kidney around four years after being put on the waiting list.
But, that rare disease reoccurred, and the replacement kidney failed two years later.
“At this point, I went back on the transplant list in 2013, and I’ve been waiting since then for a second chance,” said Rodriguez-Jones.
Cheri has to have dialysis for hours multiple times a week but was one of the first people in Massachusetts to be able to receive dialysis from a machine in her home, done overnight while she sleeps. This allowed Cheri to attend college, and have a career, but the dialysis does still come with drawbacks.
“That’s always part of it,” she said. “It’s part of the equation, where we can go, even for a short trip, dialysis is always part of it.”
Just a few weeks back, Cheri and her husband were able to plan one of those short trips- to Comic Con in Boston. She wore this t-shirt that caught the attention of actor Sean Astin. Astin recorded a video making an appeal for donors:
“I was in such films and television shows as the Goonies and Rudy and Lord of the Rings and Stranger Things and others… I wanted to share with you that I met a woman named Cheri Rodriguez Jones. Cheri described herself to me as the need a kidney fan…”
The video has garnered thousands of views. Cheri needs a Type O donor, and other sensitivities mean Cheri has a 1 to 2 percent chance of finding a match.
But she said the rare disease she was diagnosed with now has a treatment and would make it less likely for this transplant to come with the same previous complications.
“Baystate transplant services, you would basically just call them up and say I’m interested in getting tested for whoever the person is, and they’ll take it from there,” said Cheri.