Fresno woman gives the gift of life to little girl suffering from kidney failure

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Mira Collins is a sweet little three-year-old and 12 days ago she received a new kidney from Shannon Welsh of Fresno. (KFSN)

Mira Collins is a sweet little three-year-old and 12 days ago she received a new kidney from Shannon Welsh of Fresno.

"I got to give her a kiss and then see her, and then I got to see her just the other day-- so I love that she's getting better. Each day she's got fewer things attached to her and more like a little girl running around enjoying life."

Mira underwent dialysis every night at home for a year and a half until the family learned Welsh, a friend of a friend, was a match.

Mira's mother, Seychelle Collins, said, "Mira has set a new record here at UCSF for the highest functioning kidney ever transplanted."

Welsh thought she was eligible for one month's paid leave under the California Organ Donation Law.

"I donated without hesitancy because it said you get 30 days of leave."

But the Fresno County staff analyst learned that was not the case.

"I think in most cases county employees have so many options available to them, with both the generous annual leave accrual, state disability insurance, and then just the ability to have annual leave donated to them," said Human Resources Director Paul Nerland.

"I was forced to put in for state disability," said Welsh.

Nerland explained that Fresno County is a charter county, so state laws must still be approved by the Board of Supervisors.

"We have had very few situations like this come up and I think the provisions that we've had currently have covered county employees."

Some county employees have already asked about donating vacation days to Welsh.

"It's not just the money. It's the protection of the time I'll accrue when I'm gone."

Welsh said 30 days of paid leave would cost Fresno County about $7,000, giving little Mira a chance to heal though is priceless.

If Fresno County is to adopt the state organ donation law in the future supervisors would have to spearhead the push.

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