In December, the Weekly wrote about Jenny Stiles, a Las Vegas native who has been fighting against chronic medical conditions since her first breaths.
Stiles went into kidney failure at age 12 and received a kidney transplant that allowed her to live as a healthy, active teen. But 14 years later, that donor kidney is failing, and while the 26 year old awaits two different surgeries (a kidney and pancreas transplant), she’s raising funds for her required aftercare at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Beverly Hills.
As of March 28, Jenny has raised $9,750, nearly half of her $20,000 goal, and in January, her aunt was confirmed as a donor match. As her aunt continues the final stages of testing, Jenny and her mother spend much of their time organizing fundraising events—like Friday’s wine tasting at Total Wine. The Stiles’ are currently planning a used book sale for the end of April.
Jenny is hoping to receive her second kidney transplant in July, but until then, she says she’s “staying relaxed and healthy and kind of stress free. That’s the main advice I’ve gotten. They say, ‘Just relax, keep as little stress as possible,’ because stress invokes the immune system.”
In order to stay relaxed, Jenny gets massages once a month to offset the pain of dialysis. “Your muscles are never happy after four hours in that chair,” she says. Her energy levels have been lower than usual, but it’s given her time to read and continue planning events for her fundraiser.
“For the first transplant we wanted at least $10,000,” Jenny says. The next $10,000 will be used to cover a separate pancreas transplant, since Jenny is also diabetic. Before she receives a new pancreas, her immune system will be closely monitored to make sure she can go forward with the second surgery.
A graduate of the National Education for Women’s Leadership program at UNLV, Jenny’s face lights up when she talks about finishing her journalism degree, which she’ll be able to do when she’s at full health. But there’s something in the near future she’s even more excited for. Recently given the green light to get some fresh ink, Jenny is planning her first tattoo—and maybe more. With more than 20 surgeries under her belt, she’s certainly not afraid of needles.
The first, she says, will be a green ribbon with her mother’s initials; the second, a quote from Doctor Who; and the third, the Dauntless symbol from one of her favorite books, Divergent. Why? It’s about advocating for another human being, she says. And most importantly, “It’s the symbol for brave.”