The art of giving and receiving
TRUCKEE, Calif. and#8212; The plea to the community was one of an intimate nature.
and#8220;Fellow Rotarians,and#8221; the July 2011 letter began: and#8220;As you may know, club member Tom Hobday has had a long standing kidney disorder resulting from an illness contracted when he served as a forward observer in Vietnam in 1966. In 1995, Tom received a kidney transplant from his wife Pam, and has been able to live a full and active life since then. He has already beaten the odds on survival with a transplant, but now faces the prospect of needing another kidney from a healthy Blood Type O Donor. The transplant team at UC Davis is clearing Tom for his second transplant surgery and due to Tom’s age, a donated kidney will be needed from a living donor.
and#8220;The opportunity to become a living donor is truly an expression of service above self …and#8221;
The letter was signed: J. Simon, P. Hobday, T. Hobday.
and#8220;I wasn’t ready to say goodbye,and#8221; said Pam Hobday, a vibrant brunette with sapphire-colored eyes. and#8220;I love my husband. He’s my soul mate, and I wanted to save his life.and#8221;
Pam Hobday had a vexing problem. Though her husband, Tom Hobday, was on the wait list for a kidney from an anonymous donor, Pam knew his best chance at receiving a transplant would come from someone willing to give directly to Tom.
She spread the word everywhere she went and#8212; including in her own back yard.
After the first letter to the Truckee Rotary Club went out in July, three people were tested. But the doctors at UC Davis urged the Hobdays to keeping looking for more possible donors, as issues would, the doctors said, inevitably arise.
A month later, in August, Jim Simon of Porter Simon Law Firm sent out a second call, this time asking Rotary members to extend the request to their friends and family.
and#8220;and#8230; it is a matter of getting the testing done, the tissue match cleared and then moving towards the exciting opportunity to become a donor for Tom and#8230;,and#8221; Simon wrote.
Pam remembers being captivated by Simon’s letters to the community, but Simon humbly dismissed the description.
and#8220;None of them were particularly moving, they were somewhat factual,and#8221; he said. and#8220;I was even trying to inject some humor, saying, and#8216;look, you only need one.’and#8221;
At the end of September when Simon sent out a third request, opening the search to those with Type O or Type A blood and encouraging those being tested to consider the paired matching program, a donor was yet to be found.
and#8220;Tom and Pam recognize the significance of what they are asking. and#8230; With a positive response to this request and a little and#8216;Truckee Luck,’ we remain hopeful that the search will be successful within the next few weeks,and#8221; wrote Simon in that final plea.
Though the letter said 10 people had been tested, Pam Hobday knew the number was closer to 15, and she had almost given up hope.
Enter into the scene Hayley Adamski. By this time, the appeal had circulated through the Truckee community and a copy ended up in Adamski’s inbox at the Tahoe SAFE Alliance.
and#8220;As soon as I read the email, I thought and#8216;Could I be a donor?’and#8221; she said.
Adamski contacted Pam, and the two met for coffee, as Pam did with all potential donors. The two women got to know each other and discovered they shared uncanny similarities, which would later lead the surgeons at UC Davis to suggest the two be tested to determine if they are blood relatives. But that story is a digression.
Pam had a hunch.
and#8220;After Hayley and I had coffee, I walked out to the car and called Tom and told him, and#8216;I think we found your match,’and#8221; Pam said.
The decision to move forward was now in Haley’s court. She proceeded, and on Dec. 23, 2011, doctors at UC Davis Medical Center confirmed what Pam already knew.
and#8220;I’m a match! I’m a match!and#8221; Adamski remembers saying when she received the news.
Adamski’s decision to become an altruistic donor was not easily understood by all, but those close to her knew it was in line with her character. Her boyfriend of about a year, Michael Collins, lives and works in the region and was with her through the process.
and#8220;A certain segment of the population thinks, and#8216;They cut you open, they take something out and#8212; that’s it. I’ve heard enough,’and#8221; he said. and#8220;They think it’s risky. But Hayley did her research, and she knew how she was going to approach it. She tried to bring people around with her.and#8221;
Adamski, 28, said her parents supported her decision. Her mother was understanding and saw the donation as typical of Adamski’s life path. Her father was protective at first, but warmed to the idea when he found out the recipient held a Bronze Star, a Purple Heart and four Air Medals from the Vietnam War.
and#8220;Not that that matters,and#8221; said Adamski, who was willing to participate in a kidney exchange if she wasn’t a match and#8212; an exchange is a kidney swap whereby donor-recipient pairs who are unmatched to each other, trade kidneys with a second donor-recipient pair with whom there is a match.
and#8220;Was I scared?and#8221; Adamski said, and#8220;Of what? I could get hit by a bus tomorrow.and#8221;
When a person sits down to talk with Adamski, a slender, unassuming woman with a gentle but unwavering presence, one thing is clear: She knows the life she wants to live and is doing so her terms.
and#8220;Haven’t we all needed something from everyone else?and#8221; Adamski asked. and#8220;I’ve always been passionate and philanthropic. Anything I can do, anyway I can help, I’ve tried to do. I would hope that if I need something, whether it’s a kidney or a cup of coffee, someone would step forward.and#8221;
On Feb. 28, Hayley Adamski and Tom Hobday went into surgery. After a short stay, both were out of the hospital and recuperating at the Hobday family home on Donner Lake. Pam, with two patients to care for, knew she would once again need help.
and#8220;For me it was harder to ask for help than to ask for a kidney,and#8221; she said. and#8220;I didn’t want any of our friends to feel obligated.and#8221;
Using http://www.lotsahelpinghands.com, a website she found through a simple Google search, Pam asked her community to provide healthy, fresh meals. And the community stepped up.
and#8220;We had amazing dishes brought over,and#8221; said Pam. and#8220;We looked forward to them every night.and#8221;
and#8220;There was lots of delicious casseroles,and#8221; said Collins, who took some time off work to help out. and#8220;The community came through; I think it was life-changing experience.and#8221;
Collins now donates bone marrow on a regular basis. and#8220;There is a huge fear factor,and#8221; he said, and#8220;but I encourage everyone to learn more about the donation process.and#8221;
Today, the love that drove Pam to find a donor for her husband has now expanded to include Adamski as a member of the family.
and#8220;What I saw in this young woman is hard for me to describe: Her focus, her heart, is filled with giving back to society,and#8221; said Pam. and#8220;Anything that has happened for her, she has created. I feel an incredible kindred spirit in her.and#8221;
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