Pending kidney transplant puts wedding on hold
As Tonya Kuvshinikov planned for her October wedding, she came upon an unexpected complication. She needed a kidney transplant, and she needed one soon.
Kuvshinikov was diagnosed with juvenile diabetes at age 9 and has been battling health complications ever since.
Two years ago she discovered that her diabetes had affected her kidney and that she eventually would need a transplant, but she thought that would be years down the road.
Two weeks ago, her doctor told her she couldn’t wait any longer. The transplant had to be soon.
According the National Kidney Foundation, 30 percent of people with juvenile diabetes will suffer from kidney failure. Diabetes injures the small vessels in the body, including the kidney, which causes difficulty in properly cleaning blood and causes water and salt build up where it should not.
“All of a sudden it came up she needs a kidney transplant just as soon as she can,” said Gail Beck, a family friend.
Beck said the cost of the transplant and other medical expenses are not covered by insurance and will require Kuvshinikov to pay $10,000 out of pocket.
Kuvshinikov, a 30-year-old resident of Trinity, did not have that kind of money on hand.
Beck and the congregation of Oak Hill Memorial Baptist Church, where Kuvshinikov’s mother is an active member, prayed about how to help her.
“Our church is a very close-knit family. Tonya has been on our prayer list for a long, long time,” Beck said.
The church members teamed up with Kuvshinikov’s friends and family to organize a fundraiser. Alicia Rogers and Toni Ann Neal, family friends of Kuvshinikov, have taken the leadership roles in putting together the event.
“They put this together almost overnight,” Beck said.
The fundraiser will take place Saturday at R’Lo’s Pub and Grill, 207 Fisher Ferry St., Thomasville. There will be a pool tournament starting at 2 p.m. with a $10 entry fee. There also will be baked goods and raffles for donated items from local businesses.
“We have had so many people in this area to donate,” Beck said, listing jewelry items, spa trips and more that will be raffled off Saturday. “All that money will go to Tonya for whatever is needed.”
Kuvshinikov has been amazed at the help and support of the community.
“I’m really overwhelmed by the response of people: families and friends and strangers. It’s been really incredible,” she said.
She gives special thanks and appreciation to her mother, who has been her “guardian angel,” and her husband, Jeremy Lathan, who is her “biggest supporter.”
Latham and Kuvshinikov were legally married last year but have had to postpone the wedding ceremony due to medical bills. They had finally set the date for mid-October before Kuvshinikov discovered their plans were going to have to go on hold again.
Kuvshinikov is on the waiting list at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center for a seminar and evaluation before she can start the transplant process.
She already has a group of five volunteer donors, one of which is her husband.
“It really blew me away that that many people are willing to do that for me,” Kuvshinikov said. “It’s really hard to find people today who are healthy and don’t smoke or drink.”
The requirements for donating are strict, but Kuvshinikov is hopeful one of her donors will be a match.
There is a special account for donations at Bank of North Carolina branches at Julian Avenue and National Highway in Thomasville, or they can be mailed to:
Donations for Tonya, PO Box 1604, Thomasville NC 27361.
“Anything at this point would help,” Kuvshinikov said.