Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

Local News

April 30, 2013

A rare and priceless gift

Woman will donate a kidney to friend, future relative

Kokomo — Editor's note: This story has been changed from its original state to correct the spelling of April Hankley's name and the age of her son.

This week April Hankley will receive a priceless gift from her friend Kim Keating. It is the gift of a return to a normal life.

Keating, 35, will donate a kidney to Hankley, 40, who has been on the waiting list for a match for the past 13 months.

The two women have been friends for 12 years. Kim is married to Danny Keating and April is engaged to his cousin, Rusty.

Hankley learned in December 2011 that she would need a kidney transplant, but the journey to a kidney transplant started when she was a teenager.

“I’ve been a Type 1 diabetic since I was 13,” she said. “The diabetes took a toll on my kidneys.”

Hankley has been on dialysis nightly for more than a year while awaiting a match for the kidney transplant.

“I started testing to go on the list for a kidney transplant the day I started dialysis,” she said. “Most family members were tested and were not a match. I’m O positive, which is a rare blood type.”

Hankley said her 22-year-old son wanted to be the donor, but she didn’t want him to undergo the operation.

“I wanted him to be the last resort,” she said. “Actually, I wanted Kim to wait to see if I would come up on the donor list. I didn’t want to go through this.”

Although Hankley knew Keating was considering being tested, she didn’t learn of the match until just before Thanksgiving.

“We started talking about it last October,” Keating said. “When I discovered we had the same blood type, I went down to IU Health to be tested. They called a few weeks later and told me it was a match.

“It didn’t surprise me after I knew what her blood type was,” she said. “There was no hesitation in making the decision to donate a kidney.”

If Keating hadn’t agreed to donate a kidney, Hankley said she might have been on the list waiting for a match for two more years.

The two women followed their normal weekend routine, dining out and playing cards together with family and friends.

“We’re almost like sisters,” Hankley said. “This is an answer to prayers.

“My mom and dad are loving Kim even more than they already did.” Both women laughed.

Hankley is also expected to receive a pancreas transplant later this year.

“This is an opportunity to raise awareness about organ donation,” she said. “I hope this will encourage people to be a donor.”

Both are listed as organ donors on their Indiana driver’s license.

“I wondered if I should put a note on my driver’s license, that if anything happens to me make sure April gets my kidney,” Keating laughs.

Keating is a former paramedic and has family members who are a doctor and nurses.

“It’s not as scary to me as to someone else with no medical knowledge and background,” she said.

After the surgery on Wednesday, Keating plans to return to Kokomo in time for her daughter’s prom.

“It’s exciting and nerve wracking,” she said of the upcoming surgery. “I’m scared to death.”

She works as a special education aide at Taylor Intermediate School and is looking forward to visiting the students as soon as possible.

“I’ve been very open with them,” Hankley said. “They’ve seen the tube in my stomach. The kids made me a big pillow case.”

With the surgery upcoming, the two have maintained their sense of humor.

“I told her if she hit the lottery, I was going to sell the kidney to her,” Keating laughed.

1
Text Only | Photo Reprints
Local News
  • Bona Vista to build new $1.23 million housing development Bona Vista Programs has announced plans to build a new $1.23 million housing development in downtown Kokomo to accommodate people with disabilities.The new 6,500-square-foot housing unit called Elmwood Trails will be located at 1101 N. Buckeye St. an

    July 25, 2014

  • Burlington woman charged in May fatal crash Police arrested a 26-year-old Burlington woman Wednesday who is accused of causing a fatal crash while driving drunk.Howard County sheriff deputies served a warrant on Casie E. Johnson charging her with a B felony causing death while operating a vehi

    July 25, 2014

  • Airshow Practice 05 Eyes to the sky Twenty-four-year-old Kevin Coleman is one of the youngest air show stars in the world.The Louisiana man is a second generation pilot and second generation air show performer. As a kid, he watched as his dad and then his brother flew through the skies

    July 25, 2014 5 Photos

  • Former county official pleads guilty to conversion One of two former county officials charged with theft and official misconduct was sentenced last week to a two-year suspended sentence after pleading guilty to misdemeanor charges. Darrell Reed, 52, pleaded guilty to two Class A misdemeanor conversio

    July 24, 2014

  • NWS - KT072514 Kokomo School Board - pic Blueprints found during demolition aid Central Middle School remodel

    When workers began the tear down for renovations to the Central Middle School auditorium, they stumbled upon something very important and helpful sifting through the century-old material. Tucked away inside the structure were the original blueprints,

    July 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • Burlington woman charged in May fatal crash A 26-year-old Burlington woman is being accused of driving drunk causing the death of a Frankfort man in a May 2 accident near the Howard-Tipton county line. Howard County sheriff deputies served a warrant on Casie E. Johnson on Wednesday charging he

    July 24, 2014

  • Lake Co. judge strikes down Indiana right-to-work INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — A Lake County judge struck down Indiana's right-to-work ban on certain union fees in a second legal blow to the contentious law passed in 2012. Lake County Circuit Court Judge George Paras determined the law violates the state co

    July 24, 2014

  • Kokomo man charged with sexual misconduct with a minor Kokomo police arrested a 20-year-old man Tuesday afternoon on a warrant charging him with sexual misconduct with a minor involving a 14-year-old girl.Officers arrested Malachi Ely at 4:38 p.m. at his residence in the 500 block of South Goyer Road on

    July 24, 2014

  • Howard County rejected for state preschool pilot Howard County is not among the five counties selected for Indiana’s new preschool voucher pilot.Gov. Mike Pence announced Tuesday that Allen, Jackson, Lake, Marion and Vanderburgh counties will roll out the program in 2015. Eighteen counties, includi

    July 24, 2014

  • Peru dam Who should fix the dams? PERU — Who has jurisdiction over six dams located in the Hidden Hills housing addition just north of Peru, the Indiana Department of Natural Resources or the people who own the land?It’s a question with a lot riding on it — more than $1.5 million, in

    July 24, 2014 1 Photo

Latest news
Featured Ads
Only on our website
AP Video
Arizona Prison Chief: Execution Wasn't Botched Calif. Police Investigate Peacock Shooting Death Raw: Protesters, Soldiers Clash in West Bank Police: Doctor Who Shot Gunman 'Saved Lives' 'Modern Family' Star on Gay Athletes Coming Out MN Twins Debut Beer Vending Machine DA: Pa. Doctor Fired Back at Hospital Gunman Raw: Iowa Police Dash Cam Shows Wild Chase Obama Seeks Limits on US Company Mergers Abroad Large Family to Share NJ Lottery Winnings U.S. Flights to Israel Resume After Ban Lifted Official: Air Algerie Flight 'probably Crashed' TSA Administrator on Politics and Flight Bans Raw: National Guard Helps Battle WA Wildfires Raw: Ukraine's Donetsk Residents Flee Senators Push to End Hamas Threat in Cease-Fire A Young Victim's Premonition, Hug Before MH17 Raw: Deadly Storm Hits Virginia Campground Death Penalty Expert: 'This is a Turning Point' Raw: MH17 Victim's Bodies Arrive in Netherlands
Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.
Obituaries