MedStar Georgetown kidney transplant recipient Constance Creasey learned about the kindness of strangers after a national radio broadcast featured her story, along with an interview with Dr. Matthew Cooper, MD, medical director of the Kidney Pancreas Transplant program at the MedStar Georgetown Transplant Institute.
NPR national medical correspondent Richard Harris compiled a story about Medicare coverage of anti-rejection drugs that expires after three years, but continues to pay for dialysis and even a new transplant. Dr. Cooper commented that this is a policy he believes needs to change.
To add patient perspective NPR interviewed Creasey, age 60 of Washington, D.C., who mentioned that sleeping on a bed is a luxury she can’t afford because she has to save money for her anti-rejection medications. When NPR’s Morning Edition listeners heard the story on December 22, many wanted to donate and began to contact NPR and MGUH Media Relations to find out how.
A woman from Virginia bought Creasey a bed right after the holidays, while donated gift cards from all over the country provided her with sheets and blankets. Another woman from Illinois started a funding page for Creasey; some listeners donated to the MGTI's patient assistance fund that helps patients like Creasey in similar situations.
“I was overwhelmed and in total disbelief,” said Creasey. “I didn’t feel like I deserved it. I was just trying to bring awareness to this issue for other people like myself.”
Creasey spent 11 years on dialysis after her kidney failed and received a transplant in 2015. Thankfully, the surgery was a success. However, to prevent rejection, Creasey will have to take medication for the rest of her life. She is becoming increasingly concerned about how she is going to pay for her medication after Medicare stops covering the costs in 2018.
Creasey has been “truly grateful” for what people have given her since the story on NPR. She is enjoying her brand new bed, headboard and frame with sheets, a comforter and some curtains. She is happy to finally make her room a little more like home. Creaseys says she can now turn her heat down because sleeping on the floor was cold.
“I’m starting off my new year with more faith in people. This experience has touched my heart and I can’t thank everyone enough, “Creasey said.