Longtime Local Journalist Seeks Kidney Donor

Petra Chesner Schlatter Credit: Submitted

A retired journalist who covered the Newtown area for years is looking for a Christmas gift that is rare and hard to come by, but she has hope and faith that it will be found.

Petra Chesner Schlatter, who has chronicled the news of Bucks County, especially in the lower end, over the years is in fourth-stage kidney disease and looking for a living kidney donor.

With just 19 percent of her kidneys working, Schlatter is seeking a living donor as the function shrinks. Her two kids aren’t compatible and several folks that have come forward weren’t a match.

Schlatter said a living donor’s kidney is preferred over that donated by someone who is deceased, which could take as long as seven years to get. She has been in contact with her doctors at Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia throughout the process.

“Donation of a living kidney will greatly increase my quality of life and prevent dialysis, which cannot be performed forever. If I do not find a living donor, I would start dialysis in about a year or two,” she said.

Schlatter has Type O positive blood and needs a donor that has either Type O positive or negative.

“In the U.S., there are over 100,000 people waiting for a deceased donor kidney transplant. That is why it takes five to seven years to get a kidney transplant,” said Bethany Hosier, kidney transplant coordinator for Jefferson Hospital.

Schlatter’s kidney problems are a result of a necessary medication for a medical condition that led to diabetes, which eroded away her kidney function. Her doctors’ discovered the kidney disease when it was at the second stage.

If they’re a match, living donors are in the hospital for four to five days and can receive home care following the procedure.

“We typically tell donors to stay out of work at least four weeks, but it really depends on their job,” Hosier said.

The hospital covers all medical related bills – hospital stay, medications, and home care – for the donor through a fund and the kidney recipient’s insurance.

Schlatter has worked for famed Philadelphia consumer reporter Herb Denenberg and interviewed celebrities and newsmakers during her time in broadcast. The Bucks County native retired several years back after a career covering local government and community features for the The Advance of Bucks County and Yardley News. In her time since retirement, she has done public relations and aided numerous nonprofit groups in the region.

Schlatter decided to put her story out there recently as she began searching for a living donor. She’s reached out to news outlets and posted her plea on Facebook.

“Thomas Jefferson University Hospital in Philadelphia, where I have been accepted as a patient to have a kidney transplant, has encouraged me to spread the word about my need for a living kidney donor. I am doing this because even strangers have been known to be living kidney donors. I hope you or someone you know would be willing to take the challenge and be my living kidney donor,” she said.

The retired journalist is hoping a living donor comes forward. She prays regularly to Our Lady of Guadalupe, hoping for her prayer to be answered.

“My hope is to continue spreading joy and happiness. But of most importance, I want to meet my future grandchildren and spend a lot of quality time with them,” she said. “I can achieve this if I find a living kidney donor.”

Anyone interested in seeing if they can be a donor can contact Schlatter at with their full name and phone number.

About the author

Tom Sofield

Tom Sofield

Tom Sofield has covered news in Bucks County for five years for both newspaper and online publications. In 2012, Tom was honored at the Pennsylvania Newspaper Association Foundation's Keystone Press Awards for his coverage of President Obama's visit to Falls Township in 2011. When he's not covering news in the area, Tom enjoys checking out the newest restaurants and bars, exploring forgotten places of industry in the area, going to local parks and spending time with his friends and family. If there's one thing you should know about Tom, he is a local news junkie through and through. Email: Phone: 215-431-1001