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Greek mom of triplet boys in Port Washington, NY, in need of a kidney –  Spread the word that Living Kidney Donation saves lives!

By on October 26, 2019
by Penny Gallis

by Penny Gallis

Close your eyes and imagine. You are in your twenties, full of life. You have many hopes and dreams. You just graduated from college…so happy and excited to show the world who you are and what you will accomplish. Your body is strong, and your mind is clear. Like lightning, suddenly, your journey takes a swift turn and at 21, you are diagnosed with Lupus. Then comes kidney failure and a transplant at 31. This was Vivian Vonortas Jepp’s new reality. After marriage to her beloved, Erik and repeated tries to have children, her healthy triplet boys were finally born with the help of a surrogate. Four years ago, her kidney failed again and Vivian was forced to leave her career as a schoolteacher. She is now on dialysis three times a week, four hours a day. This machine she is connected to while giving her more time, more life, is also wearing her body down, reducing the quality of her life. Dialysis is a burdensome and temporary solution. Despite all this, nothing holds Vivian down. She just keeps going.  Every day, she gets up and gives selflessly for her family, her community, and her three healthy boys who keep her on her toes.

Vivian Vonortas Jepp with husband Erik and their three sons, Michael, Alex and Dino

Vivian Vonortas Jepp with husband Erik and their three sons, Michael, Alex and Dino

Like the lady that she is, Vivian has patiently and quietly waited on the transplant list. Nevertheless, the fact is that last year, Vivian was consistently in and out of the hospital, which took her away from her children. She will NOT survive the 4+ additional years wait for a deceased donor. The hope she is holding onto is that a viable Living Kidney Donor, someone who is willing and able to donate, takes action and steps up to save her precious life. This is Vivian’s story.

Vivian Vonortas Jepp-52 years young…. “I’m not done raising my boys,” said my friend Vivian during our recent phone conversation…two moms discussing their children, their to-do lists, their hopes, and fears.

If you look into her eyes, you can see the strength and the love of a mother trying to stay alive in order to devote her life to her husband, Erik and their triplet boys, age 8: Michael, Alex, and Dino. Everyone calls them “The Three Kings.” She is an incredible mom.

Vivian continues to be very active in her community and church. She worked all day at the local Greek festival a few weeks ago while still tending to her triplet boys and maintaining her good sense of humor. This is just one of the many reasons why Vivian holds a special place in many people’s hearts and in mine. She is selfless, fun and kind. This ongoing battle has been very difficult for her. Her husband, Erik told me that he wanted everyone to know, “Vivian is a loving mother who puts everything and everyone in front of her own illness and will not let anybody know how she is feeling, so that she doesn’t ruin anybody’s day.” Vivian has been a very private woman all her life, but now her story has to be told to make the public informed and aware of the Living Kidney Donation process in order to save her life and many other lives. Vivian is now opening up and getting her story told with the help of a friend, Rhoda Schneider.

Vivian Vonortas Jepp with husband Erik and their three sons, Michael, Alex and Dino

Vivian Vonortas Jepp with husband Erik and their three sons, Michael, Alex and Dino

Rhoda is a Roslyn resident and a former teacher at Manhasset Public Schools for 30 years. She keeps in contact with 40 living donors that have all been in good health since their donations. She is a connector, setting up individualized campaigns for everyone she helps. A living donor herself, Rhoda successfully donated a kidney to her husband 20 years ago. In the last 18 years, Rhoda has devoted herself passionately to this cause and has successfully helped more than a dozen individuals to find living organ donors. She is a true resource and cheerleader, shining light on living kidney donations and the positive effect they have on the quality of life for people in need and the donors as well. She has helped form team TRIKIDVIV, with a group of friends and family who have been spreading the word via social media, card distribution, and word of mouth to help Vivian find a donor in time. From flyers, postcards, t-shirts and answering vital questions to collaborating with the media, this team has been on fire. So what is our message? Our message is to keep spreading Vivian’s story and keep spreading the word that Living Kidney Donations Save Lives. Awareness changes the game.

Vivian Vonortas Jepp with husband Erik and their three sons, Michael, Alex and Dino

Vivian Vonortas Jepp with husband Erik and their three sons, Michael, Alex and Dino

Did you know that we are all born with one extra kidney? WE ONLY NEED ONE to live a full, healthy, long life. This means that we all have the opportunity to save a life.  No matter what you decide to do…donate…get tested…or Spread The Word, you can experience what it feels like to give the voluntary gift of love and hope. But…you have to respond to the call of ACTION.

Family, friends, and strangers who are able to donate, can get tested. A kidney from a living donor lasts longer than that of a deceased donor. How many opportunities do you get in life to save someone’s life? Not many. Please consider joining our forces to save lives by spreading awareness.

The benefit of a living donation is that it can be done immediately…SAVING VIVIAN’S LIFE. It is a proven and successful, laparoscopic procedure that will take place at New York Presbyterian Hospital in NY. This hospital is one of the most experienced in living donation in the country, with some of the most highly skilled surgeons in the country. Donors are tested thoroughly to ensure a HEALTHY outcome for both the Donor and the Recipient. DONORS MATTER.  All medical expenses, travel, lodging, and time lost at work by the donor are covered.

Email tripletmomneedskidney@aol.com for more info or how to get involved.

LEARN MORE ABOUT VIVIAN: search on Facebook.com Triplet Mom Needs Kidney

LEARN ABOUT LIVING DONATION:LKDN.ORG  (Living Donors)

LEARN ABOUT DONATING TO VIVIAN: NYP/Cornell (212) 746 – 3922

Cornell.donorscreen.org

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NEO Magazine. Established 2005. NEO Magazine is published monthly in New York by Neocorp Media Inc.