By Brenda L. Holmes email@example.com
Hendricks County Flyer
---- — PLAINFIELD — Ben Davis High School graduate Lynn Otter recently received a life-saving kidney transplant with the donation coming from an unlikely source.
Otter’s mother, Jackie Locke, donated one of her kidneys to her daughter 17 years ago.
“Lynn was born with one kidney,” Locke explained. “She contracted a staph infection that ate up that one kidney.”
After the transplant, mother and daughter both recovered well. But recently that transplanted kidney began to fail and Otter was against facing the prospect of going on dialysis.
This time her kidney came from long-time friend Thomas Mitchell of Indianapolis.
“Thomas was one of her first boyfriends when she was 17,” Locke said. “She was living temporarily with her dad in Indianapolis when they met. The two went together for about two years, but then broke up and lost sight of each other.”
Otter had graduated from the BDHS special education program in 1985. The two had not seen each other for nearly 30 years when they ran into each other once again.
“We had a car that needed to be towed,” Locke said. “Lynn went down to open the garage so the driver could tell where to stop. When he got out of the truck, he said, ‘Lynn is that you?’”
The tow truck driver was Mitchell. The two exchanged information and began to communicate once again. The reunion took place in 2008.
Otter and Mitchell have become good friends once again.
“He would go over to her house and visit and take her out to dinner,” Locke said.
In late 2013, Otter became sick again.
“It came on so sudden,” her mother said. “She has no immune system and she was going to have to go on dialysis. She had had the shunt put in to begin dialysis.”
When they told Mitchell that dialysis would have to begin soon, he decided he wanted to be tested to see if he was a match.
“When we told Thomas about dialysis, he just said ‘I don’t want her to do that. I’m going to get tested,’” Locke said.
The first test was to see if their blood types would be compatible. The procedure was completed by the staff at Indiana University Health hospital. Transplant personnel asked Mitchell if he knew his blood type and he didn’t.
“So they tested him and he has Type B blood,” Locke said. “They were a perfect match. He was a God send, our angel.”
But it wasn’t all smooth sailing. One of Mitchell’s kidneys had two arteries attached to it and the other had three arteries. Most people only have one artery running to a kidney. The doctors worried that Otter’s body might have difficulty accepting the kidney.
The rest of the battery of tests all went well for Mitchell and the surgery took place Dec. 20, 2013. Transplant Dr. William Goggins at IU Health was able to make the two arteries flow into one.
“Thomas did excellent after the surgery,” Locke said. “It was a little harder for Lynn to bounce back after this surgery.”
Otter came home on Christmas eve but had to return to the hospital with a temperature of more than 100 degrees. The doctors worked with her medications and learned she had also contracted a urinary tract infection that hindered her recovery.
She was able to return to her Plainfield home on Jan. 7.
“She’s handled the stress very well,” Locke said. “There has been a lot of poking and prodding. But she’s now on about half the medication she was prior to the surgery.”
Locke and her family are holding a fundraiser to help Otter with medical expenses that will not be covered by Medicare or Medicaid and to help Mitchell with some personal expenses.
“He had quit his job to make sure he didn’t get sick before the surgery,” Locke said. “He said he would just get another job when it was all over. But I want to help him with expenses. He spent so much money on gas and parking up at the hospital.”
The family is holding a drawing for a 50-inch flat screen television. Chances for the drawing are $20 apiece.
“My other daughter has also been going to local businesses to get gift cards and other items for the fundraiser,” Locke said. “We’ll be holding the drawing at 3 p.m. Jan. 26.”
To participate in the drawing, contact Locke by calling 839-3570 or 908-1754 or e-mailing to firstname.lastname@example.org.
She’s also set up a fund at PNC Bank for those who would like to send donations. Donations may be accepted at any PNC branch and should be made to the Lynn Otter Transplant Fund. The number for the account is TIN#90-1025241.
Donations may also be mailed to Locke at 4344 Kensington Way N, Plainfield, IN 46168.