Making A Difference; Daughter gives of herself to save mother

Posted by Bryan Henry  -  bio | email


In an east Montgomery home you will find a story about a life-saving gift.

"It's my mother and it had to be done," said Anissha Officer.

I sat at the kitchen table with Officer and her mom Bernice Ballard and heard their story of courage, one rooted and focused in love and life-giving.

"She's given me such a wonderful life. I've given back a part of me," Officer said.

"She's my lifeline," said Ballard.

Ballard means that literally.

You see, it was about two years ago when Ballard's kidneys started failing. At one point both were functioning at only 11%. It's not clear even today what happened but it was certain from the very beginning Ballard faced a life time of dialysis and a never-ending prescriptions of pills.

"I had high blood pressure and they put a port in my chest," said the 62-year old Ballard.

That all changed when tests showed Officer was a perfect match. The looming date was November 10th of this year.

"When we started the process my family was willing to help me including my children and my husband," said Ballard.

"I really didn't nervous until the week of," said Officer.

Yet, no second thoughts.

The family showed WSFA 12 News photos at UAB in Birmingham before and after Officer's surgery. During the 5-hour operation, doctors took out Officer's right kidney and implanted it in Ballard.

"A wonderful and awesome gesture," said Ballard.

Declared a success Anissha Officer says she noticed within two days her mom looked and sounded better.

Health restored, life seemed worth living again.

"She said what a difference she felt. You could see it on her face," said Officer.

So far so good on the kidney. It's been a month there's been no sign of rejection. Bernice Ballard will have to stay on anti-rejection medication for the rest of her life.

"It's holding its own," she said.

And Officer says there's no reason why she can't have a full life, although mom and daughter say they've had to make changes to their diet and drinking water is even more important.

A small price to pay, however, considering the alternative.

"This is another chance at life," said Ballard.

"I didn't give up anything really," Officer said.

Anissha Officer says she has always felt the mother's love growing up, calling her mom 'excellent' and always being there.

Four weeks ago Officer returned the favor by giving up a part of herself.

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