KING CITY — In March, the generous spirit of King City was on full display as community members rallied around a life-long resident in need of a liver transplant. The event supporting Rita McCormack Tavernetti at the Orradre Building raised more than $150,000, heightened awareness about organ donations, and should be a complete source of pride for the small town.
Now, that time has come again — and the call to action is urgent. King City native Holly Thompson is in need of a kidney transplant. According to Thompson, “I’m on a timeline now.”
Thompson’s Chronic Kidney Failure (CKF) was brought on due to complications leading from diabetes. Presently, her kidney function is at 13%. According to her doctors, CKF patients’ kidney functionality declines approximately 3% every six weeks, and when kidney function hits 10%, she will have to begin using peritoneal dialysis — seven days a week, eight hours a day.
Due to the incredibly constricting nature of peritoneal dialysis, the procedure needs to be done while the patient is sleeping. Obviously, this is quite different from the more common hemodialysis that is administered three days a week, four hours a day.
Up until last week, Thompson continued to work two-and-a-half days per week. She said that she was “trying to keep pushing through. I don’t want to quit my job … but it’s gettin’ tough.” Now though, she is no longer able to work and is on hemodialysis as an inpatient at the Community Hospital of the Monterey Peninsula.
She is the proprietor of The Holly Thompson Salon at 114 S. Third St., which has been at that location since 2021. However, she has been cutting and styling hair for more than 40 years.
A 1979 graduate of King City High School, Thompson has spent nearly all of her career in King City, owning a few salons before working 10 years at Ambiance Salon on Second Street.
Thompson is the granddaughter of Irvin and Grace Bray and the daughter of Lockwood rancher and cattle truck owner, Alvin Bray. She is also the daughter of Susan Moats, who worked at Redi Western, and the granddaughter of past King City Police Chief Phil Crocker and his wife Olive. Clearly, her roots in this community go deep with family members living in the area since the 1870s.
Thompson’s condition started to appear earlier this year. A common complaint and frustration for many patients with CKF and other chronic ailments is finding the right combination of prescription meds, and she understands that frustration. She has been living it daily ever since her diagnosis — taking multiple medications twice a day and experiencing very low blood pressure.
Doctors are unsure how long Thompson’s kidneys will be able to sustain dialysis and continue to reiterate that she needs to find a donor prior to going on peritoneal dialysis. A living donor is needed soon.
Thompson is presently on the University of California, San Francisco nationwide donor list, as well as multiple other organ donor lists. Yet, the estimated wait time to find a matching kidney donor is five years.
Generally, according to Thompson’s medical team, people with 4% to 8% kidney function get organs donated first due to the critical nature of their health. They are often given a casualty kidney from an organ donor who has passed; however, Thompson needs a live donor.
To become an organ donor, people must be under 50 years of age, be in generally good health — not overweight, and match the blood type of the organ recipient (Thompson’s blood type is A+). The donor must go to San Francisco for testing and medication therapy.
Unfortunately, the recovery time for the donor (eight to 10 weeks) is longer than that of the recipient. Thankfully, everyone has two kidneys but only need one to live a normal, healthy life, and any donor would be saving a life with their donated organ.
The transplant itself would be covered by insurance, but nothing else. Thus, while Thompson’s immediate need is finding a donor, in the long run, much money will need to be raised to offset the many expenses that will be incurred during this long process.
Sherry Colesberry is managing a fund for Thompson. Donations can be made to First Capital Bank, 432 Broadway St., King City, CA 93930, and any checks should be made out to “Holly Thompson.” People can also call the bank at 831-385-8900 to contribute. Also, more fundraising efforts will be coming soon.
To get tested to see if you are either a match for Thompson or for any of the others who need organs, visit the following sites: American Society of Transplant Surgeons, asts.org/asts-home; Living Donation California, livingdonationcalifornia.org; United Network of Organ Sharing, unos.org; or UCSF Living Donor Program, ucdonor.org.
Anyone who would like to reach out to Thompson personally for support, a donation or how to help, can contact her at [email protected].