In May, 2013, Zona's 19-year-old son, Ryan, was diagnosed with Chiari, an abnormality in the lower part of the brain. Following two major brain surgeries, it looked as though Ryan was out of the woods. Sadly, however, that was not to be the case. Zona shared this on her Facebook page on August 11, 2013:
"I never thought I would have to let him go. Today I give my sweet boy back to God. Ryan was pronounced brain dead yesterday. We will be taking him off life support today. Fly away my sweet baby fly away."
And, the following day: "My dear sweet precious son, Ryan McGee, earned a few more stars in his heavenly crown. He had signed up to be an organ donor. People are getting phone calls this morning and lives are being saved because of my son's gift! One of those is me...I will be receiving his kidney. I cant say it makes the pain and grief any easier, but at least I will have a piece of my son with me always."
On August 13th, Zona received Ryan's kidney and was reported to be doing well. Please keep Zona and her family in your heart, thoughts, and prayers.
Four years after receiving Ryan's kidney, cancer took Zona's life. While she will be sorely missed, it was her strong hope that she would be reunited with Ryan following her death.
Hello, my name is Zona Mcgee. I am 52 years old, live in Nashville, Tennesee, and am married to Kevin, my devoted husband of 28 years. Together, we have 2 adult children, Crystal and Ryan, and 3 precious grandchildren, Hailey, Hunter, and Grayson.
At one time, I played a major role in running our family business--a commercial cleaning and maintenance company. However, because kidney disease robs me of energy, I was forced to quit.
I have igA nephropathy, an autoimmune disorder that attacks the kidneys and leaves them scarred. I have battled this disease for 19 years and am now in end-stage renal failure.
I need a transplant and have been on the deceased-donor waiting list for 3 years. Unfortunately, no one in my family is able to donate to me because igA is an inherited disease. In fact, my dad passed away as a result of it before he was able to be on dialysis or have a transplant. I so do not want to follow in his footsteps that way.
I desperately want to live to see my grandchildren grow up. I have been told by my doctors that I will need dialysis very soon, as my kidney functioning has declined to just 11% of normal capacity. However, dialysis is not the best option for me, and having a transplant may be the only way for me to survive.
My blood type is B, but because my hospital participates in paired donation, a person of any blood type can donate. My insurance covers all transplant-related testing and surgery.
You can learn more about me by visiting my blog, Life on the Waiting List, or my Facebook page, A Kidney for Zona.
If you would like to help me, please contact my transplant coordinator, Amanda Lyles, at the Vanderbilt Hospital Transplant Center, toll-free at 866-748-1491 or locally at 615-936-0695. Or, if you like, you can fill out a donor intake form online.
Thank you for reading my story and for considering living donation. If you are unable to donate but would like to help, please share my story with others.
Thank you so much,
I so love Kevin, my husband of 28 years. Even when I am stressed or moody, he understands and reminds me that we are in this together. He tells me, "Baby...our best days are yet to come."