Originally Published: April 6, 2016 6:01 a.m.
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PRESCOTT – Harriett Carothers Parks has been ill for a big chunk of her adult life.
She wasn’t one to whine or fuss. Still, she missed out on family fun more often than she’d like to count in the last five years because she simply did not have the stamina to participate.
A month ago, that all changed.
On March 15, the 50-year-old Prescott High School Badger who now lives in Florence received a new kidney, the transplant forecast when she was just 12 years old. Parks was born with reflux kidney disease, a progressive illness diagnosed when she was pre-pubescent.
As soon as the former nurse awakened from surgery, her family said Parks was a new woman. Her eyes “sparkled” and her always effervescent personality was on overload; she possessed an energy she feared she might never recapture.
All thanks to the generosity of her daughter, Markel Adams, 30, who offered to donate her kidney just three months after undergoing surgery for severe endometriosis and an ovarian cyst.
Of the 10 other prospective donors, Adams proved the perfect match. And she never hesitated to donate.
“I would do it again tomorrow,” Adams said, noting beyond some discomfort she is recuperating just fine. “I would definitely encourage everyone to do it if they can. It’s an incredible experience, one that is hard to explain. Just knowing you saved someone’s life is a pretty intense feeling.”
To see her mother with the new kidney is to see a new person.
“She looks beautiful, and healthy,” Adams said. “It’s really crazy for me to see. Really amazing.”
Prescott resident Nicki Hansen can appreciate what Adams and Parks have experienced as she, too, is enjoying a new life thanks to her receipt of two small kidneys that once belonged to a child. Hansen, a local Safeway Starbucks clerk whose illness sparked a communitywide effort to raise awareness of her need for a transplant and generated $5,000 in donations to offset her medical expenses, lived in the Mayo Clinic recovery village with Parks.
In November, Hansen’s disease required her two kidneys to be removed; the registry found her a donor in February. She returned home last week.
“Everything is good,” Hansen said. “I am a fortunate person. They tell you at the clinic that you now have a new life. And we do.”