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Fundraiser for Dowdel held Friday

GOOD COMES BACK — The Laurels of Steubenville held a spaghetti dinner for longtime volunteer and friend Tom Dowdel on Friday. Dowdel is in need of a kidney transplant. Among those participating were, from left Jamie Maley, director of dietary; Sharen Dowdel; Larry Sneathen; Tom Dowdel; Rose Moodie, activity director; and Janna Rusinovich-Sims, marketing director. -- Amy Neeley

STEUBENVILLE — When you do good things, they come back to you — that is the philosophy Tom “Spin Daddy” Dowdel has lived by, and Friday he witnessed that firsthand.

Dowdel is in need of a live donor kidney transplant, and the Laurels of Steubenville held a spaghetti dinner fundraiser to help his family with the medical expenses.

According to Janna Rusinovich-Sims, marketing director for the Laurels, Dowdel has been hosting classic car shows for the residents of the facility and serving as the DJ at the events for years. She said when they discovered he needed help himself, the staff wanted to give back.

“He does so much for us and everyone in the community, it was our turn to give back to him,” she said.

In addition to the events he hosts for the Laurels, Dowdel hosts benefits for Ohio Valley Hospice and other area charities.

“It’s humbling,” Dowdel said of the event. “I have been a DJ for 15 years. I am usually the one doing the benefits. I never thought I would be in this situation. I guess if you do a lot of things for others it comes back to you”

Dowdel said the event was a bit of a surprise to him.

“I didn’t even know about it until I saw the fliers,” he said.

Dowdel needs what is called a live kidney transplant. He needs a living donor to donate one of his or her kidneys to him.

He explained that a kidney from someone that had already died has been through too much trauma to do what he needs it to do in his body.

A live organ is stronger and the results are better.

According to the Cleveland Clinic, an advantage of a live kidney transplant is that the organ “generally functions immediately after transplant. A deceased kidney may take several days or weeks to function normally.” Those are days and weeks that people like Dowdel don’t have.

Also, the Cleveland Clinic says the average wait of a deceased kidney is “maybe three to five years.”

According to the Cleveland Clinic, a common fear of living donation is “what if I get kidney disease later in life?”

They say that the chances of getting kidney disease does not increase based off of the number of kidneys you have and the remaining kidney actually grows larger and stronger to make up for the loss of the other.

“It’s like if you only work out one arm,” Dowdel said. “The muscle on the arm will get huge and the other will stay the same.”

Dowdel wanted to thank all the people that came out to support him including the Fort Steuben Street Rods and Tri-City Klassics car clubs; the retirees of Harrison Community Hospital, where his wife, Sharen Dowdel, was an employee; and the staff at the Laurels.

Anyone interested in live donation or has questions about the procedure can contact the Cleveland Clinic Transplant Center at (800) 223-2273 ext. 49803.

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