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Nurse of the Week: Home Health Nurse Julie Lakomiak Donates A Kidney to Someone She’s Never Met

Nurse of the Week: Home Health Nurse Julie Lakomiak Donates A Kidney to Someone She’s Never Met

Last Wednesday, Julie Lakomiak, a home health nurse from Plainfield, Illinois, donated her kidney to a “non-directed recipient.” This week, she’s our Nurse of the Week.

Lakomiak doesn’t know who the recipient of her kidney will be. But as a nurse for almost 20 years, she wanted to help someone in need and make others aware of the need.

“I heard something recently: ‘God blesses us with two kidneys, and we only need one,’” Lakomiak says. “And He does that so we can share.’ So, I think there’s a lot of truth to that.”

Lakomiak first considered donating a kidney in 2021. She had read on social media that the kidneys of Lizzie Reyes, 14, of Joliet, had unexpectedly failed and that she desperately needed a kidney transplant.

Home Health Nurse Julie Lakomiak Donates A Kidney to Someone She’s Never Met


Julie Lakomiak, a Health Care Nurse with Newsome Home Health, checks a patient during her volunteer work in San Pablo Philippines in 2017

But Lizzie received a kidney before Lakomiak, a nurse with Newsome Home Health, was even tested for a possible match. Then she met someone who needed a liver and kidney transplant but was too sick to qualify for the transplants. That’s when she made up her mind.

“I just felt like a lot of these signs in my life was God saying, ‘You’ve got to do this,’” Lakomiak says. “Why not help when there’s so much of a need?”

According to the U.S. Division of Transplantation, more than 106,000 people are on the national transplant waiting list – and 83% need a kidney.

But deciding to donate a kidney doesn’t mean it will happen. According to the National Kidney Foundation, a potential donor must undergo a medical history, physical and psychological exams, and many tests, including chest X-ray and electrocardiogram, imaging tests, and compatibility tests.

Lakomiak donated through Northwestern Memorial Hospital in Chicago and spent 11 hours there one day with tests.

Lakomiak says she occasionally had “waves of emotions” as the day drew near and random thoughts like, “Oh, gosh! Maybe I don’t have enough life insurance!” and making sure she has short-term disability, “in case something happens.”

But Lakomiak didn’t change her mind. She’s serious when she says it’s important for her to have faith. “We can’t always live life on ‘what if?'”

For information on becoming a living donor, visit kidney.org/atoz/content/living-donation.