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Salem woman in need of kidney encourages community members to see if they’re a match

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Janet Josephson’s car that reads “Be my hero. I need a kidney.” | Courtesy Tristi Meservy

SALEM — It’s not every day you see a car with a message on its window saying, “Be my hero. I need a kidney,” but a local woman is hoping that note will provide a miracle.

Janet Josephson, 56, is married and has three kids, all in their 20s. About six years ago, the Salem resident went into kidney failure, and since then, her condition has gotten worse. She’s been on dialysis for almost three years and has to undergo the procedure at home every night.

“They keep track of the percentage (of what your kidneys are functioning at) up until the time that you go on dialysis,” she says. “The last time they checked, my kidneys were at 9%.”

Doctors aren’t sure what contributed to her kidney failure, and Josephson says it’s not hereditary on her side of the family.

“You don’t realize that the kidneys flush the toxins out of your body and the toxins can make you really sick and tired (if your kidneys aren’t working),” she said. “You can’t really pinpoint it, but you don’t feel good. It’s not like your nauseous. It’s not like the flu or a cold. You just don’t feel right.”

Around the same time Josephson started dialysis, she thought she was put on the kidney transplant list, but “somewhere along the line,” she says she got “lost in the system.” It wasn’t until a few weeks ago when her name was actually added to the list.

“It’s been really frustrating,” Josephson says. “(We were told), ‘You haven’t been on the list, and nobody’s been applying,’ and we’re like, ‘We know people have been applying because they’ve called us and told us they just got done filling out the application.'”

The family decided it’s time to take matters into their own hands and hopefully speed things up by encouraging people to see if they are a match for Josephson.

Janet Josephson | Courtesy Janet Josephson

Josephson drives her Nissan Xterra across town with a short seven-word message explaining her situation along with her phone number. Her husband has also been posting on Facebook about his wife’s need for a kidney in an attempt to spread the word.

“I started out super positive, but I’ve gotten not so positive,” Josephson explained. “I’ve had a lot of days where I don’t feel like it’s going to happen.”

Throughout this process, Josephson has continued working at Dairy Queen in Rexburg. She says she used to “outwork all the kids younger than herself,” but lately, it’s been more of a struggle for her.

“You can feel when your kidneys take a drop,” she says. “At first, I was hiding it pretty good … but people are starting to notice now.”

Despite the circumstances, Josephson is holding onto a sliver of hope that she will find a donor. To see if you might be eligible to be a donor for Josephson, click here. When it asks who you want to be a donor for type Janet Josephson and the transplant location is Murray, Utah.

To follow up on your application call Megan Porter at (801) 507-8365.

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