Redefining the Classroom

Audrey Hewitt '07 gives high school senior a second chance at life

January 5, 2011

A Gladstone Gem

Written by retired LSSU softball coach Don Myers


Last summer, in the Great Lakes area, high school student athletes were being given physicals prior to participating in their respective sports.  hewitt

A young Milwaukee senior named Tessa was detected as having extremely high blood pressure, and further testing revealed a genetic kidney disorder which had already destroyed 90% of her kidney function.  Dialysis certainly loomed in her future, but if she took this immediate step, it would prevent her from any other options for the future.

Time was of the essence and it was not in her favor.  Since her kidneys were in decline, she would not be able to live a normal life, and would require a kidney transplant.  It was determined she had the rarest of blood types and that finding a donor would now become more difficult.

Letters went out to all of their friends, newspaper articles were circulated and it became common knowledge that that this former Gladstone, Michigan youngster was in urgent need of an ideal match.  Time marched on and soon a notice was circulated to Gladstone friends who were once neighbors. 

The information filtered down to a former LSSU Softball honor student whose mother and father live in Gladstone.  They mentioned it to their daughter Audrey and she began to check into the plight of the young Wisconsin high school senior.  She was working with blood sampling for a hospital in Iron Mountain and she learned that she too had the very same rare blood type as the young adult in need.

Over a several week period, testing began, and LSSU’s graduate, Audrey Hewitt, became one of the few who could save the life of the former Gladstone resident.

All testing at a hospital in Green Bay, and the transplant team at Mayo’s Clinic revealed Audrey was a near perfect match.  She was not related to the high schooler, but she made the decision to give her what she needed, a kidney and another chance to fulfill her dreams.

Audrey and Tessa’s family were reunited in Rochester, Minnesota on January 3, 2011 and the transplant procedure was set, for January 5th.  Fear did not fill the mind of Audrey Hewitt as she committed herself to accomplishing the most courageous, unselfish act of kindness and generosity, the gift for an extension on life, while both were alive.

Isn’t it amazing how an unrelated, non-family member was willing to give an essential organ to another, risking her own future, for one whose need was dire, drastic, and desperate?

The doorway of time will pass, and each young adult involved in this exchange of an organ, will know what has been accomplished through their own heart beats.  As of now, Audrey Hewitt knows that her gift of a kidney has “found a happy home….in

someone else.”