There's a mother of three in Fall River who is currently battling stage four kidney failure. Her name is Jennifer Rego and she is in desperate need of a new kidney, but having a rare O-positive blood type is further making her search that much more difficult.

Rego works at Charlton Hospital as a behavioral health tech. She was formerly at St. Luke's in New Bedford for a little more than 10 years, but transferred to be closer to home. Just last year, Rego's mother,  who also had health problems, passed away. Ever since then, life has been difficult for Rego and the family.

"My kidneys starting failing right after my mom's passing," Rego said. "I have had surgeries for my kidneys and the stents didn't do anything but made my kidneys worse."

She just started dialysis a couple of months ago after her legs began to swell and she was having difficulty breathing. Her health was declining quickly, but she knew she had to keep fighting.

"I'm young and healthy, and as long as I can find someone to donate a kidney, I'll be just fine," Rego said. "I still have many years to go, I'm not going to give up. Although I don't have a life anymore, I'm still very grateful to have the dialysis in the comfort of my own home rather than being stuck at the hospital and having that option."

Rego has three kids that she loves more than anything and are her source of motivation and strength when it comes to fighting her health situation.

"My daughter Alicia just graduated from Bridgewater (State University) as a social worker, my youngest one goes to Atlantis charter, and my oldest one works," Rego said. "They're such loving kids and I feel bad, because I want to worry about them and they worry about me. They try to stay strong, but the youngest doesn't understand much, and he also has kidney problems."

Her youngest son has had 13 surgeries on just one kidney alone since he was born, and this worries Rego that he might have more complications down the road when he's older.

"It's tough, because for the longest time, I hid my sickness and finally when my health worsened, I had to come out and tell people," Rego said. "First I was embarrassed, I didn't want people knowing, but the more I put it out there, the more I was comforted from other people's stories."

To this day, Rego continues to work every day to continue to support her family, despite the agonizing pain and health complications she's been going through.

"I've always worked, no matter what the situation and I'm proud of that, even though people think I shouldn't and should be home resting," Rego said. "It makes me happy, especially because I get to work with psych patients and everything I have to offer for them. It distracts me and keeps me sane. I want to teach my kids that this is the right thing to do."

She's taking the kidney search one day at a time. If you or anyone you know would like to help Rego find her kidney, contact the Boston Medical Center by emailing Clinical Transplant Administrator Karen Curreri at Karen.Curreri@BMC.org.

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