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Debra Beaupre's Story
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1 Corinthian 13:13: But now faith, hope, love, abide these three; but the greatest of these is love. (NASB)

Debra Beaupre has been sick a long time. Diagnosed with diabetes in her early twenties, she has been on insulin for almost 35 years. Besides a silent heart attack, kidney biopsies, and a nearly endless laundry list of ailments she almost died from an internal bleed in October 2012. “The doctor said it was a miracle he found it and saved my life,” says Debra. "I said, 'I guess God's not ready to spend eternity with me just yet.'"

By March of 2013 it was obvious that the previous years surgery was prophetic of issues to come. Returning home from visiting her mother in Collingwood she found herself unable to breathe or walk stairs at all. In May she was hospitalized with 10-12 pounds of fluid squeezing her chest and sores all over her body as the toxins her body was producing were coming out through her skin instead of being flushed as waste. Dialysis was the only option at the time, and she got tested to be a recipient of a donor kidney.

"At first I wouldn't tell anyone that I had to go on dialysis. It felt like failure, and I know that segments of Christianity believe that sickness is caused by not being right with God. Then a friend of mine told me that everyone knew I was sick, and I shouldn’t be afraid of others finding out. I didn't tell everyone, but I did tell people when it was appropriate."

What Debra found was a lot more support than she could have imagined. When people asked her what they could do to help she told them they could help those who were in need of donated organs by signing up as organ donors. Several people got tested with a notion of donating a kidney to Debra with no luck, and she couldn’t help but feel discouraged. Meanwhile, God was up to something close by.

Jenna, the wife of one of Debra's employees was praying and felt like God was telling her to get tested as a donor for Debra. She felt He said to her that she had two good kidneys and He wanted her to give one to Debra. When Jenna came back as a perfect (100%) match she knew that she had heard from God. “I believe God’s mark needed to be on this,” says Debra. “There were plenty of other volunteers but no matches.”

"On June 10 Jenna walked into my office with a birthday balloon and a can of generic kidney beans. Jenna told me that she heard I needed a kidney and that we were a perfect match. The surgery is June 24. When I got home there was a message on my answering machine to check my email. My preadmission was scheduled for the next day."

Despite having been stricken with a particular strain of viral pneumonia over the previous several weeks all went according to plan. Jenna’s surgery started at around 9am, and Debra was on the table for the transplant at around 1:00. The only unforeseen but common complication was the fact that her peritoneal catheter used for dialysis became infected and had to be removed, though it was anticipated that she would have to remain on dialysis for a while after the surgery. That fact is it was never replaced as the donor kidney started working the moment it was implanted.

"They said I would feel better, but I didn’t really believe them. The thing is, I can feel the toxins leaving my body know, and others have commented about my color and how much life I have."

This renewed health and vigor has not been wasted by Debra. She has maintained her fulltime position with the Salvation Army and talks to a kidney class that prepares people who are potential candidates for dialysis. She speaks about how frightened she was at times, but how her faith is what got her through. "A friend told me that when you’re taking a test the teacher is silent, but He isn't absent. The teacher is still walking up and down the isle, monitoring everything that is going on."

"When you’re on the journey often times the road is rough, but remember that in our weakness He is made strong. We have to realize that when we give up the wheel He will take over, but He won’t force Himself if we’re unwilling. In those bumpy places He proves Himself stronger."

To sign up as an organ donor and to help to save a life, consult www.beadonor.ca or www.ontario.ca/page/organ-and-tissue-donor-registration.