VILLE PLATTE – A chance conversation at a ball park have new life to a Ville Platte child and new appreciation of it to others.
Macy Briley, four, has had health problems since birth, but kidneys too small to properly perform their function threatened her life.
Six months ago, she began dialysis at home as she waited on a transplant list for a suitable donor.
One day Macy’s mother’ aunt met an old high school friend at the ball park. Mary Beth Smith, mother of a young child and two teenagers, said she would be interested in becoming a donor.
“I guess she thought I was joking,” Mary Beth said of that initial conversation. When Mary Beth returned to the ballpark and inquired about the process, they gave her a number at Tulane.
She called Tulane and started bloodwork. For a year, she completed testing, made several trips back and forth to Tulane, met with surgeons, doctors, nurses and a psychiatrist. Finally, Tulane called to say she was a perfect match.
“My mom was worried,” she said. “I have three kids and she asked what if they needed something...” Mary Beth said she asked her mom what if everyone said “what if” in life.
As a mother, she hoped someone would offer a kidney if one of her children needed a transplant to live. She said she would want a stranger to help. In a case like this, it doesn’t matter if you’re white, black, purple, etc., she said.
Mary Beth said she sat her children down and explained what she was doing and why. She said she had a lot of support. The students at her children’s schools prayed for her as she went through the process. Everyone in Ville Platte was supportive.
As Mary Beth went through the process, she said she attended sessions at Tulane, which answered all of her questions about the procedure of donating a kidney. Mary Beth said a lot of people do back out because of the process and that’s understandable too, but the classes tell you everything.
The surgery wasn’t bad, according to Mary Beth. She had a rough time after surgery. She was allergic to the bandages and medicine and had to recover from a post-op infection.
After coming home, she was admitted to the Ville Platte hospital for seven days. After three weeks, she returned to work. She said the first week was rough after returning to work. The second week was a little better.
“I’m good now. I can lift now. I’m waiting on my final wound to close.”
She said Macy’s mother, Heidi, was very worried and checked on her often in the weeks after surgery.
After the surgery, Mary Beth said Heidi kept her updated on Macy’s healing process. She said Macy is not on dialysis anymore. There’s no restrictions anymore and Macy can eat whatever she wants.
Before the transplant, the two women knew each other through Heidi’s older sister. They were acquaintances who spoke to each other when they saw each other in the community. Now, the two families are bound together by the gesture of Mary Beth. Both women said they speak often to each other. Mary Beth said they text all the time.
Macy’s surgery was very successful according to Heidi. “Macy is doing awesome. Her lab work is normal.”
“It was pretty neat to do that for somebody,” Mary Beth said.
“Because of Mary Beth, Macy can now live the life of a normal four-year-old,” Heidi said.