Doernbecher Nurse Gives Kidney to 19-Year-Old Family Friend

05/10/00    Portland, Ore.

Nurse Also Receives Pediatric Nurse of the Year Award for her Professional Skills During National Nurses Week

Nicholas Jundt is alive today thanks to a kidney transplant from his neighbor and close friend, Stephany Pelky. Coincidentally, Stephany is a pediatric nurse at Doernbecher Children's Hospital where Nicholas recovered from his transplant. On Monday, May 8 Stephany received the Pediatric Nurse of the Year award from her peers at Oregon Health Sciences University for her talents as a caring, compassionate, highly skilled nurse. This is the first year OHSU's nurses have celebrated National Nurses Week by selecting one Nurse of the Year for OHSU and six of their peers as Nurses of the Year for different specialty areas.

Stephany gains some of her strength and compassion from a framed verse her parents gave her titled "Success" by Ralph Waldo Emerson, which she reads as she gets ready for work each day. "I want to make one life breathe a little easier every day. I can't cure people, but as a nurse I can make my patients' lives better," said Stephany. "Nicholas is a special friend whom I've known for 13 years. Giving him a kidney was my opportunity to help make his life breathe a little easier."

Nicholas was the first boy to knock on Stephany's door when she and her family moved into their Vancouver neighborhood in 1987. He and Stephany's son were the same age and grew up together. Nicholas has IGA nephropathy, a genetic kidney disease that caused his kidneys to fail back in 1995. Unfortunately, no one in Nicholas' family could donate their kidneys for various medical reasons. He received a cadaveric kidney when he was 16, but his body rejected it, so he went on dialysis. Every time Stephany drove by Nicholas' house on her way home and saw medical trucks with dialysis equipment at his house, her heart would ache. After talking it over extensively with her family, she decided to surprise Nicholas at his high school graduation by offering him her kidney. On Nov. 17, 1999, he received Stephany's kidney and generous gift of life. Nicholas currently is in Doernbecher receiving treatment to keep his body from rejecting the new kidney.

"What Stephany did means everything to me. It's a second chance. What she did is really wonderful," said Nicholas.

Stephany primarily works with infants and toddlers on the ninth floor of Doernbecher. "Stephany is dedicated to her patients and their families. She is strongly committed to being an advocate for them and that's especially important for parents during this stressful time," said Kathy Dolan, R.N., clinical manager at Doernbecher.

National Nurses Week, May 6 - 12, is celebrated every year to recognize the contributions of nurses. A national recognition of nursing professionals was first proposed in 1953. However, it was not until 1982 that a joint resolution of Congress designated May 6 as "National Recognition Day for Nurses." In 1994, the American Nurses Association expanded that recognition to a week-long celebration that incorporated May 12, the birthday of Florence Nightingale.

Colleagues selected Tin Cotton, R.N., as the OHSU Nurse of the Year. The following nurses were awarded the honor of Nurse of the Year in their different nursing specialties:

  • Ambulatory Care - Janice Jacob, R.N.
  • Critical Care - Cheryl Newlander, R.N., B.S.N.
  • Medical-Surgical - Maureen Menard, R.N.
  • Pediatric - Stephany Pelky, R.N., B.S.N.
  • Perioperative Services - Marty Halley, R.N., B.S.N.

For more information about organ donation call:
Oregon Donor Program