Diane Noonan readies for a kidney transplant list
By Staff Report
Hamilton resident, Diane Noonan, has always had a passion for serving the community. She shines the brightest when she’s working as the director for the Butler County Board of Elections, or in her founding role with the Encore Youth Theatre.
Prior to coming to the Butler County Board of Elections, she worked as a logistics manager at Smart Paper (Champion) for 29 years. After Smart Paper ended operations, Noonan started working at the Butler County Board of Elections in 2011. She has served as the director since 2013. Outside of work, she is very involved with community theater and has been for more than 25 years.
“…There are two things that I’m very proud of. One, the most ever, is my daughter. It took me a long time to get her here. The adoption process is the most amazing thing anybody could ever go through. Then, of course, Encore Youth Theatre. It’s my baby,” says Diane Noonan.
Although Noonan has faced health challenges over the past few years, she says she’s tried to remain “positive” and she “keeps going.” Noonan is a single mother to Annelise, 22, and an eight-year-old Maltipoo. Annelise is studying in University of Cincinnati’s College of Design, Architecture, Art, and Planning (DAAP) program and she plans to graduate in May of 2020. Noonan’s friends also describe her as “selfless,” and “kind-hearted.”
In August of 2017, Noonan was diagnosed with stage 5 kidney failure and was immediately placed on dialysis, a treatment that takes over kidney functions if those organs stop doing their jobs. Prior to being diagnosed with an enlarged heart and kidney failure, she had been previously treated for high blood pressure and diabetes.
“It was not something that I knew was coming, it just all of the sudden happened. So, I do dialysis three days a week, on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. I work full time. I keep going, and I stay positive,” Noonan says. “I just got ill, went to the doctor on a Thursday, went to the emergency room on Thursday night, and on Monday, I started dialysis.”
Dialysis is a temporary solution to kidney failure. It is not good for the heart or body to remain on dialysis for a long period of time. Each dialysis treatment is four-and-a-half hours long, and they are physically and mentally draining. Now, Noonan says she understands the importance of taking the time for herself, which she says she wasn’t good at before. She also says amazing friends and family have also been her “backbone.”
“If you think something is not right with yourself, make sure you take the extra steps to have it checked out. Your life becomes your norm. You’re a mom, work full-time, you’re busy and you have all these things going on, but you have to stop and take care of yourself,” says Noonan.
“We have to remember that we’re not invincible,” she says, “We have to take time, and let people help us, too, not just always do the giving.”
Noonan has continued to work her full-time job, while not missing a single dialysis treatment. She is very close to being put on the kidney transplant list at the University of Cincinnati/UC Health, after overcoming a number of obstacles.
“The sooner I can get a kidney, the better off I will be. I still want to be around for my grandkids. My daughter is only 22, she’s not even married yet, but I’m ready. I’m very blessed in my life, and I have a lot more things to do,” Noonan says.
Noonan, along with her family and friends, have been encouraged by the team at UC to spread the news in the community and beyond in hopes to find a living kidney donor for her as soon as possible. A kidney transplant from a living donor will set her up for the best possible outcomes. Noonan has Type A blood type.
“I take every day that I get. I’m a very positive person. I keep going. There’s a heck of a lot of worse things that could happen to me. Now, I’m at a point, that I’m able to go find a match or get on the list, and that’s what I’m working on now. I’m finishing up all my testing at UC to get on the list,” Noonan says.
There are two types of kidney transplants – a living donor kidney, or a deceased donor kidney. About a third of the kidney transplants in the U.S. are from living donors, who are healthy.
“For two-and-a-half years, I didn’t broadcast that I was on dialysis. My friends knew. It’s just nothing that I put out there, like, ‘Oh, whoa is me,’ I just deal with it and move on, but when you’re looking for a donor, unfortunately, you have to put yourself out there. Number one, so people can find out how important it is to be a donor,” Noonan says.
Locally, University of Cincinnati/UC Health, The Christ Hospital and Cincinnati Children’s Hospital are among those hospitals who specialize in kidney transplants.
“I can’t praise UC Hospital enough…They are the most caring individuals and they take their time when they’re talking to you. They are so thorough. They make sure you understand everything that’s going on. I couldn’t be in better hands, and that gives you a lot of peace of mind,” Noonan says.
University of Cincinnati/UC Health, which provides the region’s only comprehensive organ transplant program for adults, performed a record number of lifesaving transplant surgeries in 2018, according to annual data from the United Network of Organ Sharing, (UNOS.)
Nearly 300 kidney, liver and heart transplants were performed at University of Cincinnati Medical Center in 2018, a 25 percent increase over the previous calendar year.
UC Medical Center ranks 16th in the nation among liver transplant centers and 40th in the nation among kidney transplant centers for the number of transplants performed, according to UNOS. The rankings are a measure of a program’s strength and success, along with other measures such as patient outcomes and academic research.
Organ donation and transplantation are also on the rise nationally: in 2018, more than 36,000 organ transplants were performed in the United States, setting a record for the sixth straight year, according to UNOS.
Nationally, living organ donation increased by 11 percent, according to UNOS, while the number of people who chose to donate one or more organs after death rose by four percent.
The most common causes for kidney disease, or renal failure on a national scale include diabetes, high blood pressure, and Glomerulonephritis.
Those interested in the latest news and updates can connect with Noonan and her team of supporters on her Facebook page at www.facebook.com/dianenoonanneedsakidney/. Possible donors can complete a donor evaluation through the University of Cincinnati/UC Health at https://uchealth.donorscreen.org.