Mother saves son’s life through kidney donation

Published 9:51 pm Wednesday, December 10, 2014

A local woman is thanking God that she was able to help her son in a time of need, and wants to share her story to educate others.

Karen Covin’s son was diagnosed at a young age with a blood disease called Henoch-Schönlein Purpura (HSP). HSP caused many problems with his kidneys.

“I was 14 when I was diagnosed with HSP,” Covin’s son, Jimmy Maughon, said.

HSP is a disease that causes small blood vessels in the body to become inflamed and leak. According to the National Kidney and Urologic Diseases website, most people recover from HSP completely, though kidney damage is the most likely long-term complication.

“It attacked his kidneys, and caused a kidney disease called IgA nephropathy,” Covin said.

IgA is a disease that occurs when an antibody called immunoglobulin A (IgA) lodges in your kidneys.

“That attacked my kidneys as well, and reduced my kidney function to below 20 percent over time,” Maughon said. “Because my kidney function was so low, we had to do a kidney transplant.”

He said once a patient gets below 20 percent in kidney function they are put onto a waiting list, and it was when the testing for the transplant began that Covin found that God was on their side.

“I already knew we had the same blood type, but we were also a perfect match; he got my left kidney,” Covin said. “This was my answer from God.”

Covin said as Maughon’s mother, she didn’t hesitate to donate her kidney.

“From the moment I told her, she said she wanted to be it,” Maughon said.

“It was God that made it possible,” she said. “His daddy was supposed to be tested after me, but I was a perfect match. I’d give him the other one if he needed it; that’s just a momma.”

The transplant process began three months after Covin was found to be a match, and took place at the end of September.

“I want people to know what I did for my son,” Covin said. “It was much easier because it was fresh. They took it from me, cleaned it and put it directly into him.”

Covin and Maughon said they wished more people were aware of the importance of people being organ donors, and the importance of donating blood.

“What I want people to understand is if you can give blood, I would recommend doing it,” Maughon said. “It saves lives.”

“I think sometimes people may be scared,” Covin said. “It would be nice if there were more donors that would even take the chance, but there is a lot to it.”

Maughon said he believes many people don’t understand the process.

“I love knowing I have one less kidney because I know my son’s got it,” she said. “If I hadn’t matched with my son and if someone was there that needed a kidney, I would’ve donated it to them.”

Covin and Maughon said they both thank God for everything, and also thank those who cared for them at the UAB Hospital.

“They were awesome,” Maughon said. “We were over-educated with everything they told us.”