The Gift of Life

Wednesday, July 7, is a day Camilla Franklin and Anne Pillow Olsen will never forget. That day, Camilla donated one of her kidneys to help save the life of her long-time friend and colleague from end-stage renal failure. 

Three months after Camilla volunteered her kidney to Anne and the transplant team at Tulane Medical Center in New Orleans determined she was a match, Camilla underwent a three-hour surgery and was released from the hospital the next afternoon. Anne was hospitalized for five days, her body immediately accepting Camilla’s gift. And Anne still is doing well. “I am impressed, amazed and blown away by the transplant team at Tulane,” Camilla says. 

“The most difficult part was putting (my partner) Jason Scott through the process. He was a huge support,” she says. “I was not worried for myself. The reward is the rebound of Anne’s health and energy. The support of family, friends and customers has been overwhelming at times, and I’ve been lost for words. I appreciate everyone’s well wishes.”

Camilla, veteran textile designer and venerable member of the bedding community, currently is vice president of design and marketing for Gastonia, North Carolina-based Creative Ticking. The company, Camilla says, “was so supportive. They said they would work with me on whatever I needed.” Anne, now retired, spent most of her career as national sales manager for the former Blumenthal Print Works in New Orleans. 

“The experience has been tremendous and, as a result, I plan to be an advocate for kidney donation,” Camilla says. 

Anne Pillow Olsen (left) and Camilla Franklin smile together days before transplant surgery.

She’s not alone. According to the United Network for Organ Sharing, the private nonprofit organization that manages the U.S. organ transplantation system, more than 21,060 transplants were performed in this country in the first half of this year. However, more than 114,000 people currently are waiting for a transplant in the U.S. 

As chronicled in the pages of BedTimes, our industry is filled with heroes who have made personal sacrifices to help others. During the 10 years I have worked for BedTimes, I have witnessed firsthand such charity, selflessness and fellowship. 

I appreciate Camilla’s sacrifice in a personal way, as well. For six years, someone dear to me awaited a liver transplant. In June 2019, he succumbed to liver cancer.  

So, I write this not in an official capacity, but as a friend. Please consider offering a hand to those awaiting transplant. You can help in many ways. Camilla and I are happy to share information with you. You can reach me at [email protected] 

Thank you, Camilla, for your selflessness, courage and example.

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