Nassau County Legislator Delia DeRiggi-Whitton (D - Glen Cove) is joining the Jepp family, LiveOnNY and local organ donation advocates in an urgent search for a living donor for Vivian, who has endured years of dialysis and two previous attempts at transplants.
Legislator DeRiggi-Whitton met with Vivian on Thursday, April 26 during a dome-lighting ceremony commemorating National Donate Life Month. Her search for a donor was sidelined in the spring of 2020 by the COVID-19 pandemic. Now that public health conditions have improved and stabilized, the race is on to find her a match.
“Vivian’s story is heartbreaking - and it is a call to action for all of us,” Legislator DeRiggi-Whitton said. “In recent months, I have witnessed the miracle of organ donation first-hand and seen how a living donor continued to thrive after giving one of my dearest friends her kidney - and with it, a renewed lease on life. If you have either A or O-type blood, I urge you to get screened as a potential donor and consider giving Vivian, her husband, and their three boys the greatest gift of all.”
Vivian has navigated health struggles throughout much of her adult life. Shortly after graduating college 33 years ago, Vivian was diagnosed with systemic lupus - an inflammatory disease in which the immune system attacks its own tissue. The disease commonly affects a patient’s joints, skin and kidneys. Vivian was an elementary school teacher in New York City until five years ago, when her kidneys began to fail. Soon thereafter, she began dialysis treatments.
Due to the extensive strain dialysis places on human body and the lengthy wait time for a deceased donor, a living donor represents Vivian’s best chance for surviving and thriving. However, it can be challenging to find willing living donors, and New York State in general has historically been one of the worst states for organ donor registration - a place where the most patients are waiting for the fewest organs.
Vivian, who has Type A blood, can receive a transplant from living donors with either A or O-type blood. Please contact Legislator DeRiggi-Whitton’s office at 516-571-6211 or firstname.lastname@example.org if you are interested in being tested as a possible donor.
(Note - A livestream video of the National Donate Life Month ceremony, during which County Executive Curran highlights Vivian’s situation, can be viewed at https://www.facebook.com/LegislatorDeliaDeRiggiWhitton/videos/367609754619804)
PHOTO - Legislator DeRiggi-Whitton and Nassau County Executive Laura Curran with Vivian Jepp, of Port Washington, outside the Theodore Roosevelt Executive and Legislative Building in Mineola on Thursday, April 26.
PHOTO CREDIT - Photo by Peter M. Budraitis