Cape Coral city order could offer incentives for organ donors

Reporter: Justin Kase Writer: Paul Dolan
Published: Updated:

As of 2021, less than 12,000,000 people were enrolled to be organ donors, but the City of Cape Coral is looking to grow that number.

City leaders realize the need for organ donors is high.

The Cape Coral City Council is considering an ordinance allowing extra paid leave time for city employees who donate or receive organs or bone marrow. An extra 40 hours of paid leave would be given to bone marrow donors or recipients.

And an extra 160 hours would be given to those donating or receiving an organ.

WINK News spoke with one city employee whose life is counting on it.

When you meet Carol Kenny, you’ll first notice her positivity.

“I’m working through it, and I have to be positive. That’s the most important thing is to be positive because when you’re positive, good things happen,” Kenny said.

You wouldn’t know that she’s in kidney failure for the second time in her life.

“There was a time I said I’ll never go on dialysis again. And here I am. I thought her kidney would last forever… I did,” Kenny said. “But it didn’t… but it went for a long time.”

Nearly three decades ago her mother sprang into action donating her kidney to Kenny without hesitation. Kenny’s life returned to normal for close to 30 years but began failing last year, just two months before her mother passed away.

“I went through a grieving process with her kidney,” Kenny said.

Kenny’s partner Daniel Seybert is a match but through testing learned his liver issues prevent him from donating.

“I was so hurt and upset that I couldn’t give her my kidney. So, I started asking people and talking to people… and some of the people at work…. and I’m saying, ‘is there any way we can get some information out,'” Seybert said.

One conversation led to another and eventually led to an ordinance introduced by the City of Cape Coral. It would create paid time off for city employees who receive or donate an organ or bone marrow.

Kenny hopes the ordinance would encourage someone to donate a kidney and help save her life.

“I know most people take normal days off… goes on vacation, things like that,” Kenny said. “And I think there’s a concern if someone wants to donate that they’re going to lose a lot of time from work.”

A public hearing for the ordinance is set for May 3, as for Kenny, she was told her wait for a kidney could be three to five years.

If anyone is interested in helping Kenny and seeing if they are a match, they will have to reach out to Largo Medical Center’s Transplant Institute of Florida. You can call the transplant institute at 727-588-5837.

Callers will have to prove they know Kenny’s full name and birthday, that information is below.

Carol Sue Kenny – 08/08/1960

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