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WGN TV: Faith over fear for Joliet nurse donating kidney to stranger

JOLIET, Ill. — A longtime nurse in Joliet says she is ready to make a selfless donation, which stems from a belief in helping whoever is in need.

Its faith over fear for Julie Lakomiak, who will soon be in surgery at Northwestern Hospital as a living organ donor.

“What is the number one thing that people say to you when they find out that you’re donating a kidney to no one you know?” WGN News asked.

“Why?” Lakomiak replied.

Lakomiak’s path toward the future moment came last year, when she saw a Joliet teenager, with her same blood type, in need of a kidney. She called and found out a donor was found but the happening had already planted a seed in Julie’s mind.

“I said, ‘I still have a kidney,'” Lakomiak said. “Why do I have to know somebody that needs it? I mean, maybe someone in my family will need it someday and I could wait, but if you sit around and wait for the ‘what ifs,’ we never help anybody.

“I just felt all the signs were there and God was like ‘this is what you’re supposed to do next.'”

Earlier this year, Lakomiak went through the physical and psychological testing.

Anyone interested in a kidney donation can learn more by clicking here.

“They stuck me like nine times. I did CAT scans and all kinds of tests,” Lakomiak said. “EKGs, x-rays and the whole day, it was just a big day of tests and mental talks about why I wanted to do it and they said the same thing, ‘why do you want to donate to someone you don’t know? They actually do more psychological talks because I’m donating to someone I know because they wanted to make sure make I wasn’t crazy.”

“Do you sometimes question it?” WGN News asked.

“Yes. And I’m sure my family does too,” laughs Lakomiak.

Julie Lakomiak pictured with her husband and two kids. (Photo provided)

Lakomiak’s family — husband Kyle, daughter Hailey and son Ryan — all support her choice.

“I don’t think they were super surprised,” Lakomiak said. “I think they were just like, ‘this is what mom wants to do.’ I try to have a caring heart and help people. If somebody asks for something, I’m going to try and help if I can.”

Helping a stranger in need is an act of faith for the Joliet mom who finds strength in helping others.

“I feel good. I feel really good,” Lakomiak said. “I mean, I have waves of emotions but for the most part, I am excited. God blesses us in so many ways. Whether it’s financially or with a career and I feel like he’s blessed me and I try to take care of my body because I feel like it’s a gift from God. You know, you have two kidneys and it’s meant to be shared.”

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