CSA Member Searches For A New Kidney
Of the many challenges she has tackled in a long and distinguished career as an educator, Lily Woo is facing what could be her toughest struggle yet.
In 2014, Mrs. Woo wrapped up a 25-year stint as a principal to become the program director of The Cahn Fellows Program for Distinguished Public School Principals at Teachers College, Columbia University, the prestigious training ground for school leaders. A graduate of the first cohort of the program in 2003, she leapt at the chance to help lead it when she was recruited for the job, and she hasn’t looked back.
“I went from leaving school on a Friday to coming here on a Monday,” she said. “I’m still in touch with my school, but this is certainly different. I’m working with colleagues who are very smart and I’m a catalyst to help them be better.”
Now she’s leaving her leadership role at the fellowship to tend to her own, very immediate needs. Mrs. Woo has been dealing with an ever-worsening case of kidney failure, and although her condition is stable right now, her kidneys are functioning at only 18 percent, and she needs flexibility for the myriad of doctor appointments that her health requires.
And most pressingly, she’s searching for a new kidney. Mrs. Woo is in the process of being screened for a list of people awaiting a transplant. In the meantime, her doctors told her not to wait in the search for a donor, since her condition could worsen suddenly at any time, and at that point, finding a donor would be a matter of life or death.
“Right now, I’m stable,” she said. “My numbers are buying me some time. But if they drop any more, that would change. My doctors told me that if I can, I should find a living donor now, because it could take between seven to ten years to find a kidney via a transplant list.”
Mrs. Woo’s blood type is O positive. None of her family members is a good match.
“If people are interested in donating, they can get tested and all of the expenses are covered by my insurance,” she said.
A couple of years ago, a story in the CSA News ultimately led to a donated kidney for retired member Brent Carrington, who was facing certain death without one.
“I am forever grateful to CSA,” Mr. Carrington said at the time. “Membership matters. It is here that we build relationships and create networks of support. You never know how well they will serve you. I have a new kidney and can resume the things I love to do, including traveling and eating chocolate. Through my CSA membership, I found better health, comradery, personal and financial support.”