Campus Closeup: Janece Hanycz

NMU is one of 16 state universities competing to register the most people for Michigan’s organ donor registry through the Gift of Life Challenge. The topic hits close to home for Janece Hanycz (Vendor Payables), who is in need of a second kidney transplant.

Because a sister was the first donor and there is no other match within her circle of family and friends, Hanycz must count on the kindness of a stranger with the right blood type to recapture a “normal life” and break the cycle of four-times-a-day dialysis treatments (her kit is shown behind her to the left).

She has even taken her search to Facebook, posting the following on her profile page: “Big commitment: Is there anyone out there who has 0+ or 0- blood and would be willing to give up a part of them—one little kidney…?”

Hanycz is also on a waiting list, but was told it takes an average of two years to receive a cadaver kidney. She is hoping the generosity of a living donor will shorten her wait.

“Kidney failure really inhibits your life,” she said. “Obviously it still goes on, but you can’t do many things spontaneously because you always have to plan ahead, make sure you have all your supplies and stop what you’re doing for dialysis. You have to work life around kidney failure because it doesn’t work around life.

“Organ donation is a positive thing. I’m not one to push religion, but I like to say, ‘God won’t care if it’s not there’ because each of us only needs one kidney. I realize it’s a big decision to have surgery to help someone you don’t know, but my hope is that there’s one person out there who’s willing to do that.”

Her first transplant occurred in 2001, after she went to the emergency room with a bad headache and was immediately admitted to the hospital with a blood pressure reading of 227/145. The donated kidney from her youngest sister began to fail last year.

With the portability of peritoneal dialysis, an alternative to the more common hemodialysis done in a health care facility, Hanycz can do the exchanges herself. She does three at home and one at NMU in a conference room near her desk. Hanycz hangs a bag of dialysis solution from an IV stand and connects the tube to a catheter that has been surgically inserted into her lower abdomen. The solution pulls waste and extra fluid from the blood into the abdominal cavity and gravity flushes them from her body when the solution is drained.

Hanycz has worked at NMU for two years as an account representative. Her primary duties are data entry, making vendor payments and getting settlements through the Concur system. Her UAW Local 1950 union is planning a benefit spaghetti dinner from 4:30-7:30 p.m. Friday, March 19, in the Jacobetti Center. The goals are to raise awareness and help defray uncovered medical and travel expenses.

Outside of work and dialysis, the West Ishpeming native and 1996 NMU graduate enjoys riding and showing her quarter horse and three miniatures, including Muffy at right. Hanycz and her husband, Mark, also like to camp, ride four wheelers and spend time with family, most of whom live in the area.

For more information on NMU's participation in the Gift of Life Challenge, visit Volunteer Center.


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Updated: February 4, 2010

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