Woman receives teen's kidney
Price Hill patient thanks donor's parents

BY MICHAEL D. CLARK
The Cincinnati Enquirer

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'It's just a miracle,' Carol Schumacher said Monday.
(Glenn Hartong photo)

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The generosity of a dead teen's parents has meant a Christmas gift of life for an ailing 64-year-old Price Hill woman.

Carol Schumacher now has the kidney of Christopher Frank, the 15-year-old Glen Este High School student who died from injuries suffered in a car wreck earlier this month.

Monday saw the rare sight of an organ recipient publicly acknowledging an organ donor and his family — in this case Christopher. The widespread publicity around the teen's death, and that of his older brother, James, who also died from injuries sustained in the Dec. 1 accident, prompted Mrs. Schumacher to go public. (The Franks story)

The retired accountant has suffered from a debilitating kidney ailment — polycystic kidney disease — and two failed transplants since 1988. But she was found to be the most medically compatible of those Greater Cincinnatians waiting for a kidney.

Mrs. Schumacher said she wanted to thank the parents of Christopher and James Frank for agreeing to donate their sons' organs to her, and others, in dire need.

“This is going to be the greatest Christmas gift I'll ever get,” Mrs. Schumacher said at a Christ Hospital press conference. “It's just a miracle. Now I'll be able to live a normal life again.”

Parents Christine and James Frank would not comment publicly but released a statement that read in part that “our decision to donate has brought us comfort during the most horrible experience of our lives.”

On Dec. 3 University Hospital doctors told the Franks that Christopher was brain dead and had no chance for recovery. A day earlier 18-year-old James, also a Glen Este High School student, was pronounced dead.

“We decided to go public with our sons' donations so that others faced with the death of a loved one can be strong and make the right de cision. The fact that Christopher could donate his kidneys to help others gave us peace about our decision to remove him from the life support and allow him to die with dignity,” the parents stated.

Hospital officials said all the organs of both Christopher and James Frank were donated within 24 hours of their deaths.

David Lewis, executive of LifeCenter, said “the generosity and courage of Christine and James Frank, who donated organs, tissues and eyes from their only two sons, touched the entire Tri-state area.”

Time consuming and tiring dialysis has consumed an average of three days a week for Mrs. Schumacher. The travel she once enjoyed with husband of 40 years, Donald Schumacher, was a distant memory that now may be revived.

Christ Hospital officials said there are currently about 215 Greater Cincinnatians awaiting organs for transplants.



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