According to the United Network for Organ Sharing, 121,357 people are currently waiting for an organ transplant in the U.S. alone. Some of these people are probably your loved ones, your neighbor, your best friend or your co-worker. Organ transplants have the possibility to extend the lives of thousands of people each year and it has been Thermo Fisher Scientific’s mission to advance the field of transplantation and improve the quality of life for both patients and their families. Read on to find out how one transplant recipient benefited from our diagnostic tools and technologies and has committed her life to paying it forward.
Louise Lerminiaux was added to the National Transplant Waiting List back in 2007. When she was 18 she was diagnosed with polycystic kidney disease, a genetic disorder that causes clusters of cysts to develop within the kidneys. Despite her best efforts to maintain a healthy and active lifestyle the cysts continued to grow and multiply, significantly deteriorating her kidney function. Louise was starting to feel the effects of this genetic disease saying, “I couldn’t work the hours I was used to anymore. I literally had no energy. I had a constant foggy feeling and it was hard to even think clearly. But the hardest part was the emotional impact – knowing that I couldn’t do anything to stop it.”
Luckily, one of Louise’s longtime friends ended up being a donor match and she received a kidney transplant on November 5, 2008. Ever since then she believes that she got a new lease on life and was committed to “paying it forward to the people who for all intents and purposes saved my life.” Once she made a full recovery, she joined our Life Science Solutions Group in 2010 where she supported the IT teams as well as the Genetic Sciences and BioProduction divisions. Her true passion lies in our Transplant Diagnostics business (TDX) where our technologies are being used to help millions of people awaiting transplants. TDX serves the transplant community with our complete line of typing and antibody detection products, instrumentation and software.
Before a transplant, labs use our tissue typing products to determine matches between organ donors and recipients. Then they use our antibody detection equipment to create an antibody profile for the transplant recipient. This serves as a benchmark to indicate any changes in the patient’s antibody levels after the procedure, indicating a sign of a possible organ rejection.
Every year on November 5th, Louise celebrates what she calls her “re-birthday”. “To me, that’s when I started living again. I was existing before, and I say that because I honestly didn’t realize how sick I was because it was so gradual.” Louise is still extremely sensitive to the future of other transplant recipients and has been working to connect the TDX team with the impact of their work and inspiring them to continue embracing our mission of Innovation, Intensity, Involvement and Integrity. “We know we touch customers, but we’re often removed from that,” said Louise. “I know that anyone who talks with a recipient understands that when we hear the words, ‘we have a match for you,’ it provides hope – hope that we’ll live another year, another decade, we’ll see our kids graduate, meet our grandchildren. So I’m helping to connect the science behind our work with our ultimate impact on transplant recipients.” Louise is truly an inspiration to all of us here and we admire her courage and tenacity even through the face of adversity.
*Source: This story was first published on our employee web portal iConnect.