TEQUESTA, Fla. - A Tequesta woman is hanging onto life, as her failing kidneys leave her few options. Her rare blood type makes it hard to find a donor, and her body is rejecting treatment.
Maria Malinen has been waiting for about a decade to get a kidney. Two seemingly close calls at receiving a donation failed, and now, she's left pleading for a miracle.
"You can feel it. You can see it," Malinen said, as she ran her index finger over the bumpy plastic tube tucked beneath the skin of her arm. Both of her arms are spotted with knotted bumps and scars.
"And my legs are the same way," she said.
Malinen, 53, says her kidneys haven't properly functioned in more than a decade. She was diagnosed in 2000 with end-stage renal disease. Later, she found out she has lupus.
"I've been on a waiting list in Orlando for nine years, but I have a very rare blood type: B+," Malinen said, as she wiped away tears. Now, all she can do is wait.
"So this is it. This is my last port. There's nowhere else to go," she said.
The final port is in her groin.
Malinen mentioned it's already been infected and removed once. Malinen's doctor says she cannot receive dialysis anymore, if it gets infected again.
Her veins have been destroyed by so many treatments, and there's nowhere else to go.
"I won't live much longer because it will depend on how my body will take the fluid when it can't get rid of it. Because once the fluid goes into your lungs, you stop breathing," said Malinen.
She says she's never missed a dialysis session. That's 12 hours a week for 12 years, constantly in and out of hospitals.
"I've already been coded once and been on death's door a couple times, and they brought me back, so I feel like He's keeping me here for a reason," she said, referencing God.
There was a sparkle of hope recently. A friend sent out a cry for help via Facebook, pleading for a donor to step forward.
"Within a few hours, somebody replied. And so she said, 'Yes. I'm really interested in doing it. I've already talked to my family.'"
But Malinen says the surgery never happened.
"It's just that we lost a few months of time that I can't get back," said Malinen, who is still holding onto hope, waiting for the call she hopes could save her life.
Malinen wanted to share her email address, in case someone would like to help.
She can be contacted via email at email@example.com.
You may also contact William Ecret, a friend and advocate of Malinen at (561) 309-4552.