COLORADO SPRINGS — The COVID-19 pandemic created significant disruptions to organ and kidney transplant operations across the country, creating an increased need for donors.
Jill McGuffen was diagnosed with acute kidney disease back in 2016.
"I did a stem cell transplant in Denver, and as soon as I got out of there they told me I had to go to dialysis. I go three times a week for three hours," said McGuffen.
She's been on the donor list for the last three years with no luck in finding her perfect match.
"I get down, and I'm like am I ever going to get a kidney? If someone was to give me a kidney, that would be a blessing for me and my kids. If something happens to me, my kids don't have anybody else. All of their grandparents and everyone is gone. They told me when their dad passed away, mom please don't go anywhere," said McGuffen.
Just before the pandemic hit, McGuffen says dozens of people volunteered to be her kidney donor.
"I got thirty donors. My daughter put it on Facebook, and that Saturday she couldn't keep up with it. COVID started and that's how I didn't get those donors, they had backed out," said McGuffen. "It was very disappointing because I've been waiting so long."
That's when the Owner and Manager of Barnes Ace Hardware Darek Barnes stepped in to help one of his most valued employees.
"We've just been working with her and being flexible with her schedule. Whatever she needs, and the time she needs to be away, it's completely fine," said Barnes.
Barnes has pledged to get McGuffen's story out through the Ace network.
"If they are willing to be a match and God has put it in their heart and mind that they want to donate a kidney to save someone else's life please reach out," said Barnes. "Our local partners which are Newell Ledbetter Advertising and then Bolt Video. Both of those completely got engaged, we took videos and did the marketing promotional pieces to make sure that Jill was able to get her message out and express the need that she has."
"It would be such a blessing for someone to give me a kidney, I would be so grateful. My family would be so grateful, and they are the ones that worry me the must because I can't let them go," said McGuffen.
Anyone interested in donating a kidney to McGuffen can contact United Health at UnitedHealthLivingDonor.org at 720.848.0855. Be sure to let them know you want to be a donor for Jill McGuffen.