HomeMarch 2022Helping Julie

Helping Julie

At the Merage JCC, we jokingly refer to our colleague Julie Holdaway as the “CEO of Leftovers”. Her formal title is Vice President and Assistant Executive Director, but her nickname reflects that she takes on any task and completes every project that does not fit neatly into someone else’s job description. During her almost nine years at the J, Julie has tackled everything from planning staff retreats to running story-telling workshops, to managing COVID protocols, to stuffing backpacks with emergency supplies. Even outside of her work schedule, she devotes endless hours proving that JCC Cares, and she is known as the Carer-in-Chief. Her favorite jobs at the J are taste-testing Chef Liron’s creations, and coordinating birthday celebrations for special members of our community, but she doesn’t shy away from the tough stuff.
  No challenge ever seems too great to Julie, and no creative idea is off the table. She is wholly committed to Excellence at the J, and she supports every staff member’s efforts to achieve it. And she is always finding new ways to ensure vibrant Jewish life in Orange County.
  But there is one critical goal that she has not been able to meet during the past year: finding a kidney donor.
  Last January, doctors told Julie that her polycystic kidney disease had reached a critical stage, and that she needs a new kidney immediately.
  When Julie was diagnosed 14 years ago, she was not surprised. Her father and her brother had kidney disease. They both received new kidneys from family members, but none of Julie’s relatives are a match for her.
  So now we are turning to her wider family for help.
  We see the JCC members, board, staff, and everyone in this community who has been touched by her kindness, professional wisdom, humor, and dedication to Jewish values as part of Julie’s family – because that is how she sees us.
  Julie needs us now. The symptoms of the disease are affecting her more and more as each week passes. Many days she needs to go home from work early. She is desperate to avoid dialysis – which is imminent if she doesn’t find a living donor. Research data shows that patients who receive a kidney transplant before starting dialysis have better outcomes than those who receive dialysis first. Dialysis would also severely impact her ability to keep working. (And Julie loves her work!)
  Do you know someone who is healthy, selfless, and ready to change Julie’s world? 
  “I’ve been told my wait for a cadaver kidney is eight years minimum,” she said. “In my world, that doesn’t seem like a viable solution. I would be grateful for anything, but it’s not quite as healthy and I don’t have eight years.”
  Always the activist, Julie also wants to preach awareness. There are more than 106,000 people in the U.S. waiting for a kidney donor. “But I believe there are altruistic people out there,” she said. “It’s a serious surgery, but it’s fairly easy. You’re out of the hospital in two days, and you’re back to a very regular life in six weeks. I believe if we just create awareness and show them the pathways, that we can help those [106,000] people.”
  If you or someone you know is willing to help, email Kidney4Julie@gmail.com for more information on how to become a living kidney donor.  

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