OREGON CITY, Ore. - The daughter of an Oregon City Police sergeant reached out to KATU in the hopes of finding a kidney for her mom.
"Who knows how many lives she's saved being a police officer," Rachel Gates, 18, said. "It's someone's turn to save her life."
Rachel's mom, Sgt. Cynthia Gates, of Oregon City, was diagnosed with kidney disease in 1995. By 2003, her kidney failed and she received a kidney transplant. Gates lived a healthy life with her father's kidney for 10 years, but her body began rejecting it last year.
"It was a little bit of a shock," Gates said. "It took me back to how sick I was before, and the thought of going through that again is a scary thought."
She's currently on the kidney transplant list with an expected wait of at least seven years. To stay alive, she goes through dialysis three times a week for four hours or uses an at-home dialysis machine every night.
"I just want to get through it and get back to work," Gates said.
The Oregon City Police Department, who recently dealt with the death of reserve officer Rob Libke, has been supportive of Sgt. Gates' condition for years. Her colleagues and bosses have also told her to take her time to get better.
While Gates may be used to putting her life on the line, she said her medical condition feels a lot different.
"It's different helping other people and worrying about maybe something happening to you because you're doing something great, as opposed to just sitting at home and getting sicker and sicker," she said.
Her family worries about both.
"I used to pray every night when I was a little kid that I would see her in the morning," Rachel Gates said.
Now Rachel focuses her hope on something else: "Constantly hoping you'll get a call, a good news call, oh my gosh a donor."
In Cynthia Gates' case, a kidney match will come from someone within just two percent of the population.
"My ultimate fear is losing my mom," Rachel said.
Gates just tries to take one day at a time, but at her daughter's urging, she realizes she should ask for help, even though it's not easy.
"It kind of feels like, why is my life so important that somebody else would risk their's," Gates said while holding back tears. "I don't think I've done anything, important enough."
She hopes her story will at least educate others that someone is put on the transplant list every ten minutes. She hopes it will encourage others to talk to their families about organ donation.
"I don't just want it to be about me," she said.
If you are interested in becoming a kidney donor for Sgt. Gates, you should email your name, blood type (if you know it) and phone number to Cynthiagateskidney@yahoo.com.
You must also meet these requirements:
- Have blood type "B" or "O"
- Be between 21-60 years old
- No history of high blood pressure or major medical problems