In need of a kidney transplant

Loyal Order of Moose holds fundraiser for Juneau woman living with rare kidney disease

Posted: Sunday, January 17, 2010

For 22-year-old Adara Buell Kollander, having a rare kidney disease is kind of annoying, but overall she feels pretty normal.

Courtesy Of Adara Kollander
Courtesy Of Adara Kollander

Other than the fact that she needs a kidney transplant, what really makes things difficult for her is the 6-inch-long catheter coming out of her chest.

"If I start to perspire, there is a chance it might get infected, and then I'd have to go back to the hospital and do other fun stuff I really don't want to do," she said.

When not on dialysis three times week, this 2005 Juneau-Douglas High School graduate, who was born and raised here, tries to get by with her art in hopes of one day becoming a concept artist.

"If you have these neat ideas for like a 3D animation type film, but you don't have the characters drawn, that's what the concept art is all about," she explained. "It's (exploring) the constant drive of the characters, what they look like and possible emotions they may or may not have."

In fact, Kollander was in Arizona and had just graduated from Collins College with a bachelor's degree in animation when she learned of her disease.

She was diagnosed on Nov. 4, 2009, with glomerulonephritis, a disease characterized by inflammation of the small blood vessels in the kidneys.

"Basically my kidneys are calcifying, so they're starting to harden," she said, "and my autoimmune system is attacking them."

There is no known cause for glomerulonephritis, "so it's just something that happens at random at best," Kollander said.

Subsequently, Kollander is in need of a kidney transplant. Her donor will be a family member, although she's not sure who yet.

"We're still waiting for my insurance to go through so I can get tested for any other anomalies," she said. "It's basically a giant physical to make sure I can withstand the treatment. Then all my possible donors get tested."

To help with her medical expenses, the local Loyal Order of Moose is sponsoring a fundraiser at 5 p.m. Saturday at the Juneau Moose Family Center.

"I appreciate everything they're doing," Kollander said. "It's very nice."

For now, Kollader still does artwork, although the medication she takes sometimes affects how she draws.

"It causes me to shake, and I obviously can't hold a pencil very well," she said. "But I'm looking forward to moving out of Arizona and going back home. It's too hot down here."

As of Saturday, Kollander was hospitalized for a seizure she had on Friday morning. Doctors were trying to regulate her blood pressure so she could be released.

Donations to Kollander's kidney transplant can be sent to: Karen Fortwengler, Re: Adara Kollander, P.O. Box 35041, Juneau, AK 99803.

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