BAR HARBOR — Che Mislang of Bar Harbor, whose kidneys have all but shut down, will soon get a healthy kidney donated by a woman in his wife’s Bible study and prayer group.
“I really felt like the Holy Spirit was telling me to get tested, because I have type O blood, and that’s what he needed,” said Laura King of Ellsworth. “But I kept saying, ‘I can’t do this. I have three kids, and my husband is a merchant mariner who leaves for weeks at a time.’ But I just kept hearing this voice in my head saying, ‘Go get tested.’ So I did.”
The testing began last October.
King said there is no such thing as a perfect match between organ donors and recipients. But Mislang had no adverse reaction to her DNA, which was an excellent sign.
“I am a 50 percent match, which sounds awful,” King said. “But for two people who are not related – I am a white woman from the east coast, and he’s a Mexican-Filipino man from California – it’s pretty amazing to be a 50 percent match.”
The transplant surgery is scheduled for June 23 at Maine Medical Center in Portland.
King, 27, is originally from Maryland. Her husband, Jacob, crew up in Otter Creek and graduated from Mount Desert Island High School. Their children are 2, 6 and 8.
Mislang, 42, was born and raised in Fresno, Calif. His wife, Sarah, grew up in Bar Harbor. Their daughter, Clementine, is 2.
The Mislangs are members of the First Baptist Church of Bar Harbor, which King attended for a while. She now attends the United Baptist Church in Ellsworth, but regularly participates in a Bible study and prayer group in Bar Harbor, which Sarah Mislang also attends.
Che Mislang works three part-time jobs; his wife works two. To help them pay their bills while he is recovering from transplant surgery, members of their church are holding a fundraising dinner with live music on Saturday, May 2, from 5-7 p.m. Tax deductible donations designated for Che Mislang also may be sent to the church at 46 Ledgelawn Avenue, Bar Harbor.
Mislang said he had known for some time that his kidneys were failing, but he didn’t know just how serious his condition was until he required emergency dialysis in January 2014. He has been going to Maine Coast Memorial Hospital in Ellsworth three times a week for dialysis treatments ever since because he has only about 5 percent of normal kidney function.
“I had expected to be on dialysis for at least six years before I could get a donor kidney, but it’s only been a little over a year,” Mislang said. “It’s too good to be true.”
His wife said she is amazed by the selflessness of the kidney donor and the compassion of others who are stepping up to help.
“I feel just blown away by the generosity of people and God’s provision,” she said. “I think the biggest thing [motivating King] was her desire for Clementine to have a dad around longer and for me to have a husband around longer.”
King said that since deciding to donate one of her kidneys, she has never had any misgivings. She said her husband was concerned about what would happen if her remaining kidney failed at some point. But she has been assured that, should that happen, she would be high on the priority list for a transplant herself.
“My husband has been extremely supportive, and I just have faith that God will bless me,” King said.
Referring to both her family and the Mislangs, she said, “We all have a very strong faith. and we believe the Lord is opening these doors for this to take place. It’s been really uplifting for me to be a part of it.”