***Important update from Merrill as of Jan 22, 2017!!***

Jo-Ann received a successful kidney transplant on December 29th.  She’s at home now, recovering nicely! To all of you who responded, and also the gentleman who unselfishly gave up one of his kidneys so Jo-Ann could get her new one… we simply can’t thank you enough for the kindness and generosity you’ve given. Not to mention, one of the ladies who went through testing was able to donate one of her kidneys to someone else, which is fantastic! It’s humbling to say the least, and restores our faith in human nature. There are not enough words to express our sincere gratitude to each and every one of you!


Type O blood is Jo-Ann’s perfect match… But donors with ANY
blood type can help her get a new kidney in months,
instead of waiting and suffering for 4-6 years

Jo-Ann’s story

Jo-Ann Clark lives in Stratham with me, her husband, Merrill, and has dealt with the daily struggles of Type 1 Diabetes for almost 40 years. She was just diagnosed with Stage 5 Chronic Kidney Disease. Soon, this will cause complete kidney failure, requiring her to get ongoing dialysis, or get a kidney transplant. Jo-Ann’s on the transplant list at Brigham & Women’s Hospital, but the average wait for a kidney is 4-6 years. In reality, waiting 4 years could be too long.

It’s been a long, exhausting year

Jo-Ann’s immune system is basically non-existent. In January, she got the flu, which snowballed into life-threatening pneumonia, sepsis, and organ failure.

I almost lost her

She was admitted into the ICU, sedated, and on a ventilator where ICU doc said her chance of survival was 50/50. She was in the ICU for 4 weeks, and in the hospital for almost 3 months, developing 2 more serious infections along the way.

It was a long road to recovery

After coming home from a flu and pneumonia that has taken many lives this year, she endured six weeks of physical therapy and visiting nurses.

But Jo-Ann is one tough cookie

She progressed from not having enough strength to hold a pencil, to walking by herself. She lost 20% of her body weight, and much of her hair from the trauma to her body. Thankfully, she slowly recovered over the next few months. Six months later, her hair has finally stopped falling out, and she is more or less stable – for now, anyway.

Boatloads of medications

Every 10 days, we dump her pills out of a Shaws bag on the kitchen table, sorting more than a dozen prescriptions into daily pill organizers. Jo-Ann and I tag-team this effort to make sure her meds are organized perfectly.

It’s stressful, and almost a full time job just to manage all of her prescriptions, refills, constant doctors visits, and insurance billing.

The E.R. is all too familiar

Just since last August, Jo-Ann has been to the Emergency Room and admitted six different times for various infections and bugs she’s picked up from who knows where. Thankfully, she’s recovered. Next time though, she may not be so lucky.

“Her immune system is so frail, and with winter coming, she might easily pick up a bug, flu, or infection that could kill her”

And frankly, no matter how careful we are about washing our hands, and staying away from sick people, we’re scared to death of getting another infection, which may kill her the next time.

Long-term Dialysis will be needed, but also complicated

Jo-Ann has endured 3 surgeries to create a fistula, the safest access point for long-term dialysis. Unfortunately, her veins are in such rough shape, it won’t work after all. So when her kidneys fail to the point where dialysis is necessary, she’ll have get a external catheter implanted in her neck, which is much more prone to deadly infections because the catheter is outside the body.

Jo-Ann, a Gold Star Mother, is devoted to helping Veterans… but needs to stay healthy enough

It’s obvious that Jo-Ann has endured more than her fair share of heartache. Five years ago, our son, Chris, an Army Infantryman who served in Iraq, was diagnosed with PTSD and took his own life. It’s only one of the 22 military suicides that happen every day. It really hurts. So she vowed to do something about it that will make a difference in the lives of other Military Veterans.

She works with the VA on a N.H. Subcommittee for Suicide Prevention in our Veterans. Their important mission is to provide more help for all Veterans suffering from PTSD and depression, especially the ones returning from current tours overseas. And she doesn’t stop there.

She also does charitable work to help Veterans adopt pets

Jo-Ann, with her friend Bill DaGiau, founder of Annie’s Angles Memorial Fund in Stratham, started Annie’s Angels Chris’ Pets for Vets, a program that helps pay the pet adoption fees for Veterans at Cocheco Valley Humane Society in Dover.

“A kidney transplant is vital to Jo-Ann’s survival”

Jo-Ann’s a wonderful lady with a heart of gold, but needs your help to get the kidney transplant that will save her life

Can you, or someone you know, help your neighbor, and my wife, Jo-Ann, get a new kidney so she can continue helping others?

For more information on becoming a kidney donor, regardless of your blood type, or to take the first step to get tested, email our kidney transplant team at bwhkidneydonorinfo@partners.org!

Or you can contact Merrill or Jo-Ann via text or phone at 603-395-0459

(All calls are strictly confidential)

One of us will get back to you as soon as possible.

Respectfully, Merrill Clark

P.S. Jo-Ann has been the love of my life for 25 years. I tried to help by becoming a donor, but wasn’t qualified to help her. Will you?