The Leader family — Mackenzie, 6; Leigh; Chris; and Maddie, 3 — hope Leigh can receive a new donor kidney soon.

The Leader family — Mackenzie, 6; Leigh; Chris; and Maddie, 3 — hope Leigh can receive a new donor kidney soon.

Photo provided by Lucretia Conley

Young Troy mother battles kidney disease, seeks donor

By: Terry Oparka | Troy Times | Published March 18, 2020


TROY — Troy resident Lucretia Conley’s kidney was a perfect match for her daughter, Leigh Leader.

Leader, 30, a 2007 Athens High School graduate who now lives in Rochester Hills, is in end stage renal failure. She hooks up to a machine for dialysis for 12 hours each night.

But Conley discovered she could not donate her kidney because she carries the gene for Type 1 diabetes, although she does not have diabetes herself. Leader does have Type 1 diabetes.

Leader needs a kidney from a donor with A positive or O negative blood.

A second donor was unable to donate because doctors discovered a cyst on her kidney.

Conley explained that her daughter is on the list through the Henry Ford Transplant Institute in Detroit. The United Network for Organ Sharing manages the list and matches those who need kidneys with deceased donors throughout the Midwest and across the nation.

“She’s been in renal failure for three years,” Conley said. Her kidney disease, caused by her Type 1 diabetes, was discovered after the birth of her youngest daughter.

According to the National Kidney Foundation, about 30% of patients with Type 1, or juvenile onset, diabetes — an autoimmune disease in which the pancreas stops producing insulin — and 10% to 40% of those with Type 2 diabetes — when the body doesn’t produce enough insulin or it resists insulin — eventually will suffer from kidney failure.

Conley and her family and friends aim to raise awareness of Leader’s urgent need for a kidney, “to open it up” beyond family and friends, with the hope to find another perfect match.

Leader explained that she has a catheter in her stomach and hooks up to the dialysis machine from 9 p.m. to 9 a.m.

“Sometimes I hook up, then disconnect myself to take care of the girls,” Mackenzie, 6, and Maddie, 3, she said.

Leader fights fatigue.

“I have days I can’t get out of bed,” she said. “I have to keep going.”

She said her husband, Chris, has been a huge support. Leader said that all the costs for the donor would be covered and that the typical hospital stay for kidney donors is one night, with a return to work the following week.

According to the Henry Ford Health System website, to donate a kidney to someone you know, you should be:

• Between the ages of 18 and 70.

• A friend or family member of the recipient, such as a spouse, parent, sibling, child, nephew or niece.

• Approximately the same body size as the recipient.

• The same or compatible blood type as the recipient.

• In excellent medical and psychological health.

For more information on being an organ donor, visit