‘Tiny’ Sacrifice: Kidney Donation Leads to Lasting Friendship
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‘Tiny’ Sacrifice: Kidney Donation Leads to Lasting Friendship

I was diagnosed with kidney failure in March
2006, started dialysis immediately, and I was on dialysis for 13 years until I was transplanted
on April 3, 2019, and I couldn’t find a compatible match within my family or through the current
transplant program. So it was recommended that I would do the swap program. And my
daughter was an undergrad and Lisa’s son was an undergrad, and they started dating
and they married. Well, before they married. Lisa had met me and she didn’t, at the time she didn’t know that I had been on dialysis. I decided to become a living donor because
my relationship with my son’s mother-in-law who I now dearly call sister mom, at the time,
they were not married. She was telling me about her struggle with her lack of functioning
kidneys. She had been on dialysis for 13 years when I met her. I thought donors had to die before they could donate. And I learned about the program and have always
taken my health for granted. And I’m in very good health. I’m an athlete. And when I learned
that you could easily donate and live with only one kidney, it seemed like an obvious
choice for me to offer my kidney to her. It was a chain donation. So she — I was not a match for her. And so we were put into the program together and when they found a
match for Sebrenia, who is my sister mom, then they found someone to receive my kidney
also. So there was a number of people who received through the chain of our donation.
Not only was the testing very thorough, I got a free checkup, very thorough checkup
for my health and the waiting and all of the testing was simple. And even the surgery itself
was so simple. I had an excellent surgeon. I have a teeny
tiny little scar. He was so conscientious about keeping me scar free. And honestly,
sometimes I feel guilty because people think I’ve done this great thing and it was such
a tiny, tiny sacrifice in my life that I feel like I don’t deserve any thanks at all. Because it
was so simple. I can see the rewards because my children, when they have children, will have, that baby will have two grandmothers instead of just one. And to see her life and the health
that she now can enjoy from the simple donation of a kidney is so rewarding to me. Organ
donation is vital. We’re seeing so many disparities in and especially in the underserved communities,
and we have to learn how to first get educated. It’s nothing to be afraid of. And I always
tell people, God gave us two kidneys to give one away. It’s just a beautiful process to
watch because for me, the sacrifice was so small. And to see the difference that it made
in her life is so great. So it was totally rewarding. Sky’s the limit. I am just looking
forward to new adventures. I’m considering going back to school and looking forward to
having grandchildren. And my energy level is — sometimes I have to remind myself, you
know, you need to slow down a little bit.

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