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Jena Serigne, local transplant candidate, needs support, prayers

Kidneys are the filters for the body, they remove waste from the blood stream and eject it in the form of urine, but when the kidneys fail to work properly serious health problems can occur.

Stacey Jordan is the mother of a child who has been diagnosed with Nephrocalcinosis, she said. Nephrocalcinosis is a kidney disorder that causes the build up of calcium and oxalate or phosphate in the renal tubes, according to http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/000492.htm. In the instances where ailment is progressive, or chronic, failure of the kidneys can occur and lead to dialysis and eventually the need for a kidney transplant.

Jordan’s daughter, Jena Serigne, was born with Nephrocalcinosis, which has been hardening her kidneys as she gets older, Jordan said. At six months old Serigne was only 19 inches and 9 pounds.

“So it stunted her growth,” Jordan said.

Tubes fed baby Serigne while she was strapped to her bed because of her illness and spent much of her first year in and out of the hospital, Jordan said.

Jordan suspected her daughter had inherited the disease from her biological father’s side, since Serigne’s paternal aunt also had the disease. A comparison of medical records at Tulane University Hospital concluded Jordan’s suspicion. Medical personnel had hoped that Serigne would not need a transplant until she was in her teens but now at age 11 a transplant is scheduled for May of 2007, Jordan said.

“So far she’s been doing pretty good,” Jordan said.

Four people tested to see if they could donate a kidney for the procedure, three were family members and one was a friend, Jordan said. As it turned out Serigne’s maternal uncle was the best candidate from the initial testing, but if for some medical reason he is unable to donate his kidney then Serigne’s cousin has also been deemed a viable match.

“She was upset when she found out my brother beat her,” Jordan said about Serigne’s cousin.

Another hurdle Jordan had to clear involved getting Medicaid to help pay for the procedure. She said she tried to get Oschner to agree to do the procedure, but they told her they could not accept Medicaid from Mississippi. Medicaid wanted Jordan to take Serigne to Birmingham, Ala. to get the transplant done but Jordan was less than receptive.

“I have two other children and if something happened in the middle of the night I could get her to Metairie faster than Birmingham, Alabama,” Jordan said.

After some maneuvering Oschner finally agreed to take the Medicaid from Mississippi but there will still be the need for assistance since Medicaid has not announced how much assistance they will provide.

“Now am I going to receive bills when it’s over, I’m sure I will, but they have said they will help,” Jordan said.

Jordan said she was putting jars up in several stores to try and raise money to offset the projected $200,000 bill on the procedure but some of the jars began to come up missing so Jordan discontinued that practice.

To help raise some money for the transplant Jordan said she has a turkey shoot complete with auction and fish fry scheduled for Nov. 12 at the American Legion on Union School Road in Picayune. Local merchants donated items for the auction, which will feature handmade gun cabinets and a shot gun, Jordan said.

After the transplant Serigne will have a new life to adapt to. Jordan said her daughter is somewhat of a tomboy, who likes to ride her dirt bike and care for her pet hamsters. The procedure will make Serigne more susceptible to illness since her immune system will be weakened. Her lowered immune system will warrant less contact with animals, other children and strenuous activity, Jordan said. Home schooling may be an option after the procedure is complete, which will take Serigne out of Pearl River Central Junior High where she currently attends, Jordan said. Thirteen different medications, one of which will be antirejection medication, will be in Serigne’s daily routine after the procedure as well.

“So she’s going to have a real different lifestyle when this is over,” Jordan said.

If residents would like to make donations to Serigne’s cause they can go to Southern Bank of Picayune and donate to the Jena Elaine Serigne Kidney Transplant Fund, Jordan said. Jordan said she would like to thank all the people and merchants that have shown support to Serigne’s cause and asks for continued prayer for the surgery.