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Community Rallies Around ICM Director Wiley Who Needs New Kidney

By Alyssa Schnugg
News Editor
alyssa.schnugg@hottytoddy.com

ICM Director Lena Wiley is in need of a kidney transplant.
Photo provided

For more than 20 years, Lena Wiley has worked endless hours helping people find a roof over their head, getting necessary medications or keeping the lights on.

However, now Oxford and Lafayette County have an opportunity to return the favor and help Wiley.

About a year ago, Wiley was diagnosed with chronic kidney disease. Her kidneys only operate at 7 percent and she needs a kidney transplant, which could cost tens of thousands, if not hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Wiley goes to dialysis three times a week and yet, she continues to go to work every day at Interfaith Compassion Ministry where she has served as director for more than 20 years.

ICM Board Director Dick Marchbanks said he’s not surprised Wiley continues to work each day.

“I’m constantly amazed about how much she loves her work and the people she works with,” Marchbanks said. “She’s fighting every day.”

Friend and former neighbor of Wiley’s, Maxine Nelson started a GoFundMe for Wiley to help raise money for her medical expenses once a kidney match is located – which Wiley hopes could be just a few days away.

“My daughters are being tested,” Wiley said Friday from her office at ICM.

While she’s grateful for the outpouring from the community, it’s not something she’s used to.

“You know how it is when you’re so used to doing stuff on your own,” she said.

The Interfaith Compassion Ministry is a non-denominational, community support agency dedicated to helping residents in need with utility costs, rent payments and repairs.

“Lena knows who needs help. But her work with ICM is only the tip of the iceberg of how she gives back. She has made it her life’s work to look after those who society often forgets,” Nelson said of Wiley on the GoFundMe page. “Lena made it her life’s mission to not only raise a wonderful family but to also leave her community in a better place than she found it – spreading love, happiness, and caring compassion across Mississippi along the way.”

Wiley was named Citizen of the Year in 2003 by the Oxford-Lafayette County Chamber of Commerce and was presented with the Community Heroes Award in 2012. In 2016, the Magnolia Bar Association presented Wiley with the Harriet Tubman Trailblazers Award and she’s an active member in St. Peter’s Episcopal Church.

“We have all benefited from Lena’s work in Oxford and Lafayette County,” Nelson said. “She gave her time, energy, money and love – now it is time for us to give back to her.”
Oxford resident Joyce Whittington said Wiley is Oxford’s own “gift from God.”

“I heard a local minister murmur years ago, ‘When Lena retires, we’ll need two people to replace her.’ I beg to differ – we’ll need more than that. And Lena cannot be replaced.”

To donate, visit https://www.gofundme.com/please-help-lena-wiley-get-a-new-kidney.


 

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