There were initial feelings of guilt, Pierce says, when Cortney did not feel well after the surgery due to her body adjusting to the change while her kidney in his body began functioning right away.
It was a gift he says he can never repay, creating a forever connection between two families previously mere acquaintances. Just in time for the holidays, well-known Lake Ozark cop Shane Pierce received a new kidney from Eldon woman Cortney Powell.
On November 30, the pair went into surgery nearly three months after Cortney surprised Shane with the announcement that she was a match for the much-needed kidney he had been seeking over the last couple of years.
A father of four, Shane is a detective with the Lake Ozark Police Department who was diagnosed with IgA nephropathy - or Berger’s Disease - in August 2015. Inflammation from an antibody developed in his system was attacking his kidneys and interfering with their ability to filter wastes from his blood.
After being diagnosed, Shane and wife Lacey created the Facebook page, A Kidney for Shane, in their effort to find him a donor kidney. Kidney donation is one of the few organ donations that can be from a living or deceased person as the body has two but can function on one.
But it has to be a match in more ways than one. For Shane, that match was surprisingly someone he barely knew.
A mother of four, Cortney says she hadn’t thought much about organ donation before, but was moved by Shane’s story after hearing about earlier this year. She had met Shane through community events, but that was it.
Then she learned that they have the same blood type, and Cortney started anonymously going the process of checking to see if she would be a match and then making the decision to donate when she found out she was.
It was an exciting announcement back in September when she surprised Shane at what he thought was a police department event.
There were some “bumps” in the road to surgery, as Cortney describes it, but nothing not overcome. And then the surgery just at the beginning of the holiday season - scarier than she thought it would be, she admits, especially since she’d never had surgery before.
But it went well as far as surgeries go, and Cortney says she is doing better and taking recovery day by day. While it has not been easy, it has been great to see how well Shane is doing, she says.
Seeing him feeling better has made her feel better as she recuperates. It has definitely been rewarding, says Courtney.
On his part, Shane says he’s feeling pretty great.
There were initial feelings of guilt, he says, when Cortney did not feel well after the surgery due to her body adjusting to the change while her kidney in his body began functioning right away. Outside of a little soreness from the surgery, he is feeling better than he has in years.
“But now, it’s neat to have this connection. We’ll always be friends because she’s given me something that I can never repay her for,” says Shane.
He has been staying home a lot since the surgery as he was initially on large doses of anti-rejection medications which suppress the immune system. The doses are starting to be tapered off, but he will always be on some level of these medications. It’s well worth it though, he says.
You’d think this would be the end of the story, but for Shane and Cortney it’s always about giving.
The two have been discussing starting a new Facebook page - one that will tell their story and promote organ donation, a platform to inspire but also to give insight into the practical realities of live donation.
After doing this, Cortney says it has been amazing to find out how many others in the community are in need of a kidney transplant or other organ donation.
The Lake Ozark Police Department wants to help Shane Pierce and his family cover some of the medical and associated costs involving his recent transplant surgery.
Iguana Group of Lake Ozark and gun manufacturer Springfield Armory have teamed up to donate a Springfield .44 cal. 1911 handgun to be raffled off. Tickets are $10 each and can be purchased at the LOPD or Lake Ozark City Hall, 3162 Bagnell Dam Blvd.; or from any LOPD officer.
The winning ticket will be drawn during a chili supper Saturday, Jan. 20, at the Senior Activity Center on D Road in Osage Beach.
Police Chief Gary Launderville noted there are on-going out-of-pocket costs associated with Pierce's surgery.
In addition, the Lake of the Ozarks Fraternal Order of Police raffled a Ruger AR-15 assault rifle to help the donor, Courtney Powell, with her medical and associated costs. Pierce approached the FOP about hosting a fund raiser for Powell.