Kent State student reflects on organ donation


Dallas Trescher holds a photo or her and her father that a friend put together. Tuesday, Feb. 9, 2016.

Lauryn Rosinski

Valentine’s Day pops into people’s minds when they think of Feb. 14. But the date also signifies National Donor Day, which for one Kent State student, represents something life changing. 

According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, National Donor Day was started by the Saturn Corporation and its Auto Workers in order to celebrate those who have donated organs, tissues, platelets, marrow and blood. The day is also used to spread awareness to others about donating.

While most remember giving Valentine’s to their loved ones, some remember giving a piece of themselves to another person. One person is Dallas Trescher, a senior political science and history major.

 “I think … (donation) is important and an important option for people to have, but I also think it takes the right person to be able to go through it,” Trescher said. “I don’t think it’s something you go in half-heartedly about; it’s a lifelong commitment.”

In May 2013, Trescher donated her kidney to her father, Charles Lawrence Trescher. He had experienced kidney failure due to an amputation below the knee.

“(I’m) not saying … he never took care of it (his health), but he definitely took care of his family more,” Trescher said.

Trescher said the two had a very close bond.

 “I grew up with him every day making me breakfast, being there … picking me up from school … coaching any sports team I wanted to do, being a ‘Girl Scout dad’ … He just took on that more stay-at-home, parental role,” Trescher said. “My dad was one of those guys that … I could tell him anything and he would listen, (and) not care how annoying I was or anything like that.”

During her senior year of high school, Trescher’s father reached the renal failure stage. Because of this, she and her family went to a “kidney workshop” at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center in order to explore their options for organ donation. After ruling out a transplant list, Trescher, her brother and her sister had their blood tested to see if any of them were a match to their father.

Trescher and her brother were matches.

“My siblings lived in far other states, so I was like, ‘You know what? I’m going to do it,’ ” Trescher said. “My thought process was, ‘My dad has done everything for me, so I’m going to do whatever I can for him.’ He became sick when I was very young, and I kind of had to switch into that parental role for him. I was that support system for my dad, no matter what, and I wanted to be … the one that could save him.”

Although the close bond with her father played a huge role in Trescher’s decision, Laura Roch, a senior human development and family studies major and friend to Trescher, believes her friend’s selflessness played a part as well.

“Obviously, you want to save your dad’s life, but it had to be hard to undergo that surgery and risk your own life,” Roch said. “She would give any part of her if it would benefit or help someone else.”

Trescher said she was not worried about the surgical procedure. Her worries were directed toward her father.

“I wasn’t nervous about not waking up … I was nervous for my dad,” Trescher said. “I was nervous that if he did receive it, he would always feel in-debt to me, and I would never want that.”

After more than a year of physical tests, blood tests and cultures, Trescher donated her kidney to her father the summer before her sophomore year of college. Trescher said the organ donation procedure is different than what most people expect.

“It’s not like the whole movie thing where they (the doctors) just lay you side-by-side. Mine (Trescher’s kidney) was in kind of a ‘holding cell,’ waiting for my dad to be prepped,” Trescher said. “The weird thing about donation is, when you donate a kidney, you can go home the next day.”

Unfortunately, more than a month after the transplant, Trescher’s father rejected the organ. This is not a rare occurrence. According to the National Kidney Foundation, 7 percent of kidney transplants fail within a year, and 17 percent fail within three years.

“Whether it’s to a stranger, whether it’s to your father, you just have to know … that it (an organ transplant) couldn’t work,” Trescher said.

Trescher’s father and their family decided against another transplant because of the risks of surgery. They decided to continue with dialysis.

After Thanksgiving break, Trescher returned to Kent State. At 4 a.m., she received a call from her mother. Her father’s blood pressure was not high enough to support dialysis, and he went into septic shock. He died Dec. 3, 2013, as Trescher was driving from Kent to Pittsburgh.

“That was the worst part about the whole thing … not losing my dad, but not being there to hold his hand when it happened,” Trescher said.

Trescher feels the people she has met and the organizations she has been involved with at Kent State helped her after the death of her father.

“I was able to come back to school and be open … be welcomed with open arms,” Trescher said. “Laura (Roch) was a huge part of that.”

Although her organ was rejected, Trescher is still proud to have been an organ donor.

“I’m proud that I did it (the transplant),” Trescher said. “I’m proud that I was able to attempt to help my dad (as) more than just a support system for him.”

Trescher feels organ donations are important, as long as the organ donor understands the sacrifice they are making. Roch feels that, although she has never donated an organ, everyone should register to be a donor.

“I think it (National Donor Day) is on Valentine’s Day because Valentine’s Day is all about love and caring and being selfless,” Roch said. “That’s what organ donation is. It’s the selfless love and care for someone who you may not have met, but you can change their world.”

To become an organ donor, you can:

1. Register with your state’s Organ Donor Registry.

2. Select ‘Yes’ to organ donation when you apply for your driver’s license.

3. Sign a donor card, if available.

Go more information

Lauryn Rosinski is the college of nursing, public health and podiatry beat reporter for the Kent Stater. Contact her at [email protected]