Oviedo woman receives life-saving kidney donation from daughter


Imagine having your life on the line and asking total strangers to save your life. That’s what someone in need of an organ transplant does every day. As a wife, mom and kindergarten teacher, Jackie Rothermich has had a full life. But last year, Jackie needed someone to help save her life.She recorded and posted a video to Facebook asking for someone to donate a kidney. She included a jingle like she often used in the classroom. “All I want for Christmas is a new kidney. You could be a live donor and change things for me,” she sang.After 30 years of teaching, Jackie was diagnosed with kidney failure. Doctors said she had only months to find a donor. “I was going through things, like okay, ‘my will is in order. Who gets what, jewelry-wise? It was the scariest time of my life,” she said. No one would or could give in time. The family was now looking at hospice care.Jackie’s 26-year-old daughter Courtney Rothermich decided she wanted to donate. “I can’t imagine a world without her. I wasn’t ready to imagine a world without her or a world where her quality of life was so different than what she had hoped for,” Courtney said.After months of testing, Courtney turned out to be a match. But her mother was hesitant. Courtney had her whole life ahead of her. “I needed to know that she can have babies. She can bungee jump. She can do whatever she wants,” Jackie said.Reassured, the kidney transplant surgery was scheduled at AdventHealth Orlando. “We were just excited. I mean, scared, scared to death, anxiety-ridden with, you know, it’s a scary process,” Courtney said.Courtney said she wanted to give something of herself to the person who gave everything to her. “I was a little bit out of it from the anesthesia, but my first thought was I want to see my mom,” Courtney said. “When you walked in, I could tell, ‘oh my gosh, this is going to be okay,'” Jackie said.There was no guarantee Jackie’s body would accept the kidney, but doctors said Jackie almost immediately began healing. “They don’t take your kidneys out. They just add the extra in which is amazing. I named it Sydney the kidney,” Jackie said.Jackie had to quarantine after surgery with a suppressed immune system but she still found a way to thank her donor.She had a surprise sign put up in her daughter’s yard: “My hero. My donor.” “I was afraid to live in a world without my mom. So if I could do something that could change that outcome for us, then why not now?” Courtney said. Now, Courtney and Jackie still have their whole lives ahead of them. “You are my Powerball. You get one chance in life to be lucky, and you were it. Thank you. I love you,” Jackie said. Jackie is actually headed out of the house for the first time Thursday night since her surgery in July. Mom, dad and daughter went to see “Hamilton.”They hope their story inspires others to donate. AdventHealth’s Transplant Institute is the only transplant program in Central Florida.

Imagine having your life on the line and asking total strangers to save your life. That’s what someone in need of an organ transplant does every day.

As a wife, mom and kindergarten teacher, Jackie Rothermich has had a full life. But last year, Jackie needed someone to help save her life.

She recorded and posted a video to Facebook asking for someone to donate a kidney. She included a jingle like she often used in the classroom.

“All I want for Christmas is a new kidney. You could be a live donor and change things for me,” she sang.

After 30 years of teaching, Jackie was diagnosed with kidney failure. Doctors said she had only months to find a donor.

“I was going through things, like okay, ‘my will is in order. Who gets what, jewelry-wise? It was the scariest time of my life,” she said.

No one would or could give in time. The family was now looking at hospice care.

Jackie’s 26-year-old daughter Courtney Rothermich decided she wanted to donate.

“I can’t imagine a world without her. I wasn’t ready to imagine a world without her or a world where her quality of life was so different than what she had hoped for,” Courtney said.

After months of testing, Courtney turned out to be a match. But her mother was hesitant. Courtney had her whole life ahead of her.

“I needed to know that she can have babies. She can bungee jump. She can do whatever she wants,” Jackie said.

Reassured, the kidney transplant surgery was scheduled at AdventHealth Orlando.

“We were just excited. I mean, scared, scared to death, anxiety-ridden with, you know, it’s a scary process,” Courtney said.

Courtney said she wanted to give something of herself to the person who gave everything to her.

“I was a little bit out of it from the anesthesia, but my first thought was I want to see my mom,” Courtney said.

“When you walked in, I could tell, ‘oh my gosh, this is going to be okay,'” Jackie said.

There was no guarantee Jackie’s body would accept the kidney, but doctors said Jackie almost immediately began healing.

“They don’t take your kidneys out. They just add the extra in which is amazing. I named it Sydney the kidney,” Jackie said.

Jackie had to quarantine after surgery with a suppressed immune system but she still found a way to thank her donor.

She had a surprise sign put up in her daughter’s yard: “My hero. My donor.”

“I was afraid to live in a world without my mom. So if I could do something that could change that outcome for us, then why not now?” Courtney said.

Now, Courtney and Jackie still have their whole lives ahead of them.

“You are my Powerball. You get one chance in life to be lucky, and you were it. Thank you. I love you,” Jackie said.

Jackie is actually headed out of the house for the first time Thursday night since her surgery in July. Mom, dad and daughter went to see “Hamilton.”

They hope their story inspires others to donate.

AdventHealth’s Transplant Institute is the only transplant program in Central Florida.



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