Archived Story

Newsoms kidney patient to advocate for support

Published 12:23pm Saturday, March 2, 2013

BY STEPHEN H. COWLES/CONTRIBUTING WRITER
Playback58@gmail.com

Deanna Hunt of Newsoms at the Southampton Dialysis Center on Armory Drive in Franklin. The process takes 3 1/2  hours each time she goes, which is three times a week. -- SUBMITTED
Deanna Hunt of Newsoms at the Southampton Dialysis Center on Armory Drive in Franklin. The process takes 3 1/2 hours each time she goes, which is three times a week. — SUBMITTED

NEWSOMS—Deanna Hunt, a dialysis patient from Newsoms, is going to Washington, D.C., to let Congress know how kidney disease can affect one’s life.

The 32-year-old knows firsthand.

On Thursday, Hunt will ask Rep. Randy Forbes, R-Va., and Sens. Mark Warner and Tim Kaine, both D-Va., to support a bill that would provide lifetime coverage of anti-rejection medicines for kidney transplant patients.

“I’m excited because it will give me a chance to bring it to people’s attention,” Hunt said.

She wants to impress that kidney disease is a real threat.

Medicare pays for dialysis and covers the $10,000 annual cost of needed medications for three years, said Tamara Ruggiero, vice president of communications and marketing for the American Kidney Fund.

Without them, a patient’s body will reject the new organ and the patient ends up back on dialysis.

A graduate of Southampton High School who studied criminal justice at Chowan University, Hunt has been on the waiting list for a new kidney since March 2009.

Working as a corrections officer for Deerfield Correction Center in Capron in June 2008, she experienced an intense headache and coldness. Hunt couldn’t even open her eyes.

Her doctor prescribed medication for hypertension and four days later, she learned her kidneys had failed. She broke down crying.

“Never in my wildest dreams did I think my kidneys were malfunctioning,” Hunt said.

Surgery to install a catheter was done at Sentara Obici Hospital later that month. By July 4, she began dialysis three times a week, each time for about 3½ hours. The treatments, which use 15-inch needles, are done at Southampton Dialysis Center on Armory Drive in Franklin.

“I got calls in January, and I think I’m on top of the list. I pray so,” she said.

With a new kidney, Hunt would still have the lifetime issue of paying for the anti-rejection medication. On disability, that’s why Hunt’s invested in passage of the bill.

“We need assistance like anybody else,” said Hunt. “If I can help just one person — not just myself — I can have peace of mind.”

She’s also concerned whether returning to work full time would be possible.

“I can barely make ends meet,” said Hunt, who lives with her mother and stepfather, Diane and Caleb Shearin. Her mother has high blood pressure and her father, Ernest Hunt of Franklin, is diabetic. Both conditions are believed to be “the chief culprits” of kidney disease, said Ruggiero.

All three of Hunt’s parents have been supportive.

“I’m saddened that I’m a burden, but they assure me I’m not,” she said.

  • Alnee

    Hang in there Deanna! You are an inspiration to many out there! I hope that you are blessed with many of your prayers being answered soon!

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    • MsColeGirl

      Alnee,

      Thank you sooo much for those kind words! I am trying very hard to hold on. I also appreciate the fact that you took the time to read the article. Thank you once again!

      Deanna Nicole Hunt

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  • cscj27980

    Hang in there, Nicole. I am so proud of you and what you are doing. You have always been one to care for others, and I’m glad to see that hasn’t changed. God bless you, and may your endeavors be successful!

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    • MsColeGirl

      Thank you sooo much Shaunte!!!

      I have always believed in looking out for others, and being nice because that is the way that you would expect for someone to treat you. I just want to get the story out there. I want people to know that with prevention, they can avoid the sentence that I have to bear! Love you, and stay blessed!

      Nicole

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