2 New Jersey moms share emotional journey with daughters for kidney transplants

BURLINGTON, New Jersey (WPVI) -- Two mothers from Burlington, New Jersey, share similar stories about what Mother's Day this spring means to them.

Both went through emotional journeys involving kidney donation.

For Dr. Sabrina Sturgis Riley, a well-known social worker, she never expected the little girl she gave birth to would one day save her life.

It brings her to tears looking at the photo she took with her daughter, Desi Askew, right before she received her daughter's kidney.

"That picture is touching to me every time I see it," said Riley.

The mother of three was diagnosed with kidney failure in 2018 and placed on the National Kidney Registry.

But her daughter had much bigger plans. Desi Askew, a mother of three, always knew somehow she would be her mom's kidney donor.

She gets emotional thinking about how she always drank water just in case she would one day have to donate her kidney.

She said there was no question she would do it when she saw her mother become ill.

"To see my mom get old, I want to see her get old," Askew said.

The two hold each other tight going into this Mother's Day.

"I'm just thankful she's here. I'm thankful to have her. I'm thankful for the opportunity to continue to do life together," Askew added.

Another mother and her daughter also share a similar life-saving story.

But in this case, mother Leigh Donadieu from Medford, New Jersey, donated her kidney.

Her daughter, 18-year-old Ruth Donadieu, was diagnosed with chronic kidney disease over a year ago.

"She is fine today thanks to, Children's Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP), and she will be fine tomorrow, and in the meantime, there is someone in the United States who is alive who got my kidney," Donadieu said.

Because of her daughter's situation, Leigh made the conscious decision to donate a kidney. The organ went to someone else in critical need as her daughter's disease is currently stable.

These two proud mothers are raising awareness about the importance of the National Kidney Registry.

Both are also thankful for the gift of life. The mothers encourage others to become organ donors.

Both kidney transplants were part of a program with Penn Medicine.
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