An Unconditional Life, A Selfless Gift of Love. Kidney on 3.

If you were blessed with the opportunity to give a part of yourself to save a life, would you do it? For Lake Catholic graduate Laura Miller Gray (class of ’84) there was never any doubt what the answer would be.
Tomorrow, Laura is serving as a living kidney donor to Lake Catholic parent Michelle Frazier. The selfless act is not only changing Michelle’s life – but also the lives of her three children, Lake Catholic graduate Tommy ’19, current senior Dylan, and Tristan Frazier.
According to Laura, it is all part of God’s plan.
Michelle suffers from an incredibly rare genetic condition called Hereditary Amyloidosis. Throughout her life, she was aware of the potential diagnosis: her mother, grandmother, cousin, two uncles, and countless other relatives all died at an early age from the disease. Yet Michelle did not let the prognosis define her and she became her own health ambassador by researching and preparing for potential solutions and signs of hope.  Many of her friends – including Laura – did not know the extent of her illness.
Laura and Michelle have what they both describe as a friendship that is less about “hanging for a girls’ night” and more about their kids. Although they have known each other about 12 years, Laura says she only recently discovered Michelle’s middle name.  The women met when Michelle’s middle son and Laura’s youngest were preparing to enter kindergarten. Both boys were apprehensive about starting school and had a preliminary meet-and-greet with the teacher to help alleviate any anxiety.  Laura believes it was God’s way of connecting the two on what was to be their predetermined life’s destiny.
Years passed. Kids’ sports interests changed and schools shifted. The boys remained close friends and their moms would catch up when they could.
In July of 2019, Laura was at Michelle’s home for Tommy’s graduation party. As the friends chatted, Michelle shared her news: she would soon need a kidney transplant. “Please say a prayer that the Clinic puts me on their transplant list,” she said.
It was then, Laura heard her voice say “You let me know when you get put on it, and I’ll get tested."  The voice was hers however the words were Divine.  “I didn’t plan to hold her to it,” says Michelle. “I thought here is this person who I am not even related to who is offering to undergo something beyond words.”
According to Laura, “There are things in life that are much bigger than us.  It is during these times you must rely on your faith.  I never viewed this as a decision; but rather by surrendering to God’s plan.”
Science and faith came together, Michelle was placed on the transplant list, and Laura began the medical process to determine if she was indeed her match.
Despite statistics showing that it is rare for non-related individuals to be a match, Laura’s faith persisted.  On Dec. 6, 2019, she received a call from the Clinic.  “Is this your sister?”, the woman asked to which Laura responded “No."  The woman replied, “Oh my, you are 100% Michelle’s match.”  Laura cried out, “Thank you, Jesus. I knew I was."
Unable to reach Michelle by phone, Laura drove to her home to share the miraculous news. “We cried and hugged in front of her Christmas tree."
At this point, Michelle’s kidneys were still functioning enough to get by. The medical experts wanted to wait a bit longer. This ultimately pushed the transplant into both of their sons, Cael and Dylan, senior years in high school. The same two little guys who met in kindergarten and truly served as points of light to connect their mothers.  Laura’s son plays basketball and Michelle’s is a wrestler. So much would be missed. Still, there were never any doubts that this was the absolute right thing to do.  God had already planned it when both these boys were only six years old.
“My three sons, Ian, Luke, and Cael have been incredibly supportive. My father, who is 89, wept when he said, ‘Your mother and I are so proud of you for saving a life.' Laura’s mother was a secretary at Lake Catholic when it first opened in 1970 and passed away several years ago.
Michelle is indebted beyond words to all that Laura is doing. “It is the most unselfish, unconditional gift. It means everything. It is a second chance at life. It’s a chance for me to continue to be a mom. It’s a gift to me. It’s a gift to my kids. I’ve watched a lot of family members die from this disease. I know this is a chance to see my children one day marry and to eventually hold my grandchildren. If it weren’t for her, I would be scared. I have my faith in Jesus. But I also want to stay here on earth for my kids.”
Laura insists it is her calling: “I truly believe that I was born with Michelle’s kidney. I’ve just been taking care of it for her until God deemed it was time.”
Kidneys are not symmetrical.  Therefore, medical experts must decide which one to transplant. In most cases, the larger of the two remains with the donor.  Laura tends to look for humor in any situation – having named her kidneys as part of the process.  Her larger kidney is “Tom Brady”; the smaller one, “Baker Mayfield”.  Doctors determined early on that Baker, who has revived the Cleveland Browns with his intense and uplifting energy, would go to Michelle.  While Tom, the proven winner, and steady veteran, would remain with Laura.  As with all transplants, however, the game plan may have to adjust.  In this particular case, within days of surgery, the surgical team made a game-time decision. Tom Brady will be traded. Both Michelle and Laura are confident in the play call, however, as they already know God serves as the General Manager.
Laura and Michelle, you are in our thoughts and prayers -
God of Health and Wholeness,
We gather to pray
For our dear friends Laura and Michelle
as we desire for them to be restored
to the balance of good health.
We pray for a successful surgery and for the
Medical staff who will be working with them
so that, they may fully recover,
and return with renewed zeal
to the daily life that we share.
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