PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Sherwood High School teacher Sarah Holtz is alive today because a stranger gave her a kidney and now she’s paying that kindness forward.
In the fall of 2017, Holtz underwent kidney transplant surgery. An elementary school teacher from Newberg was the donor.
Holtz said the procedure was nothing short of “an instant miracle.”
“My eyes opened and all the nausea I’d felt before — all the weakness, the anemia — it was just gone,” she said.
Not only did Holtz get her life back, but she also made a lifelong friend in her donor, Carolyn Davidson.
“We have a friendship where we get together and talk and sometimes the word kidney doesn’t even come up in our conversations we’re so close now,” said Holtz.
Holtz decided she wanted to impact the life of someone else who needs a kidney transplant. She became a mentor with Donate Life Northwest’s “Erase the Wait” program and was matched with Greg Oravec.
Oravec has end-stage renal failure. He has to be hooked up to a dialysis machine every night to stay alive.
The father and newlywed is campaigning for a new kidney. In a letter shared on his GoFundMe page, Oravec explained how unlikely his odds are at receiving a kidney through the deceased donor waiting list and how dialysis can’t keep him alive forever.
“I have goals and dreams with my wife and kids, many more years of working with friends and then retirement,” said Oravec. “I’m up against time and am sending out this plea to find a living donor.”
His mission is one Holtz understands firsthand.
Holtz — who found her own donor through Facebook — is helping Oravec spread the word about his search through various outlets.
“She really gives hope and a lot more perspective about the disease; move forward in a positive direction,” said Oravec.
It’s that hope and positivity that keeps Oravec searching for the kidney that can give him a future. He’s blood type O-positive.
“I need a miracle and someone to save my life by sharing a spare, one of their two kidneys,” said Oravec.