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home : community : business November 25, 2015

8/16/2013 5:42:00 PM
Area woman needs kidney donor
Megan and Janet Dunnagan smile for a photo. Megan is in search of a kidney donor, but so far, nobody has matched with her. Submitted photo.
Megan and Janet Dunnagan smile for a photo. Megan is in search of a kidney donor, but so far, nobody has matched with her. Submitted photo.
Erik Pague

After being on dialysis for the past 13 years, Moses Lake resident Megan Dunnagan is ready to be finished with the needles, pain and frequent visits to the doctor. She needs a new kidney, but unfortunately, only about two percent of the population can be singled out as potential donors.
Dunnagan, who will be 29 this December, has battled her rare kidney disease her entire life, having been airlifted to a Seattle hospital just hours after being born in Ketchikan, Alaska. Megan is the daughter of Othello Chief of Police Steve Dunnagan and mother Janet who said the family is frantically searching for anybody who may turn out to be a potential donor.
Janet said Megan's condition was caused by her umbilical cord being wrapped around her neck before she was born. Typically, these occurrences result in brain damage, but for Megan, her problems came from her kidneys. Janet donated her own kidney to her daughter when she was just a toddler, which worked successfully for 14 years.
"In 1987, we actually put one of my kidneys into Megan and it worked extremely well for 14 years," Janet said.
Unfortunately, the antigens Janet passed down to her daughter combined with the medicines she was taking limited the use of her kidney and her body rejected it in 2000. Since then, Megan has had to be hooked up to her home dialysis machine five days a week for up to three hours at a time.
"There's just so many things that have happened," Janet said. "She's had blood transfusions, infections and all kinds of things ... since 2000, we've had a lot of ups and downs."
Now, due to the frequent amount of times she has to be on the machine, her arms and legs are quickly running out of space to insert the needles and grafts required to keep her on dialysis. Megan is at the top of the donor list at Sacred Heart Medical Center in Spokane, but finding potential donors has been a struggle since only about two in 100 people are even considered a narrow match for her blood type and other genetic factors.
Since this recent push to find donors, Janet said they've received more than 50 phone calls from people willing to get themselves tested to find out if they happen to be a match with Megan. As of press time, the family hasn't found any perfect matches, but the Dunnagans are urging anybody with Type O blood to consider calling the kidney transplant team at Sacred Heart at (509) 474-3131.
Once this is all said and done, Janet says Megan would like to become a foster mom and a nurse specializing in helping kids on dialysis. Janet also asks anyone who isn't an organ donor to reconsider and make the switch in time for April's National Donate Life Month.
If you'd like to lend your support to Megan, pay a visit to the Facebook page her sister Michelle set up at

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