Wendy Littlefield, right, recently met Emily Pooler, 12, of Auburn. Pooler is the recipient of a kidney Littlefield donated. PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY OF WENDY LITTLEFIELD

Kidney donor, recipient share special bond

PORTLAND — Wendy Littlefield of Mount Desert didn’t know who her kidney would be going to when she underwent surgery in September at Maine Medical Center to have her left kidney removed.

In the Barbara Bush Children’s wing of the same hospital, Littlefield’s kidney was transplanted into 12-year-old Emily Pooler of Auburn.

The two patients were on different floors, and were still complete strangers. But by the evening of Sept. 25, both Littlefield and Pooler were up and walking.

Pooler was born with Caudal Regression Syndrome and has had 10 surgeries in the past 4 years. Within six weeks of receiving a new kidney, Pooler is now back in school full time, able to attend family functions, and recently had an overnight with a friend, according to Littlefield.

Littlefield decided to become an altruistic kidney donor in memory of her daughter, who died in 2010. She was back to work in two weeks after surgery and said she had no regrets, knowing she had saved a life and “prevented two parents and a brother from having to grieve.”

On Nov. 9, the donor and recipient met. Littlefield said that as she met Pooler and her mother, Alison, she was overwhelmed by emotion.

“The emotions of that day can’t be put into words” Littlefield said. “I will forever have a connection to Emily and look forward to the weeks ahead as we plan time for me to be able to watch her celebrate holidays and live life to the fullest.”

Becky Pritchard
Former Islander reporter Becky Pritchard covered the town of Bar Harbor and was a park ranger in Acadia for six seasons.
Becky Pritchard

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