November 12 2014
by Deb Moe
A truly selfless and courageous act of generosity and faith is happening today. Cathe Cheesebrow is receiving a life-saving kidney transplant, donated from her friend Janet Hedding Sarver. I have received word that the surgeries have gone well.
Most of you won't know these ladies. They met, as most of us have, through a love of riding distance horses. Their friendship grew even closer last year when both decided to ride 50's together. Cathe and her pistol of a mare, LB, even went on to win a top 5 AERC award.
Last fall, Cathe's health began to decline and she was diagnosed with kidney disease. I don't know the specifics, but I do know that the doctors told her it was likely she'd be on dialysis within a year. I don't need to remind anyone what that means.
Early this summer, Cathe got the news she was on the waiting list for a kidney transplant and although that was good news, the wait times can be several years. Cathe's positive attitude was inspiring.
Once Cathe announced she was on the wait list, Janet secretly began her own journey, as she calls it. She took the questionnaires and passed. She took preliminary screenings and passed. She came to realize she might actually be a match and decided then and there she would do this for her friend. She said on her FB page "From the very first blood test to the CT scan to the wonderful team at the U of M Donor program it has all been a bit of a whirlwind. So many times I had to give up all control to God and rest my mind from the unknown details."
One can only imagine the tears that were shed when Cathe learned Janet was the closest to being a match over everyone else that had tried.
In late October, they learned that Janet was in fact a very good match. The surgeries were scheduled asap because (God Dammit!) they were going to be back on horses in the spring!
As another friend said, this a friendship, developed from the love of horses, that turned into a gift of life.
I know they wouldn't want the attention, but this story is too uplifting to not share. It exemplifies just how wonderful this endurance family is.
Be well Cathe and Janet. Ride on.
*Nov 14 Update - Both Cathe and Janet are doing well!*