I donated one of my kidneys to another person on January 4th, 2017 so that my mom could receive a good match for her.
I decided to donate one of my kidneys so that my mom could receive the best possible match for her in the quickest time possible since I wasn't a match for her. I recently was able to talk to my recipient and her family on the phone. She is doing very well! My own mother is doing well too! It is incredible.
My mom became sick in the spring of 2015. Although it is still difficult to say what exactly caused her kidneys to fail, she had the perfect storm of events occur to cause her to become septic in the ICU and in end stage renal failure.
Once my mom started doing better that summer, my triplet brother Chris and I flew with my mom to Savannah, GA where my sister just had her first child. We were visiting with relatives in nearby Hilton Head and as we got up to leave the restaurant my mom went into sudden cardiac arrest. My sister Ali, who happens to work as a nurse in the ICU, began CPR immediately. She reacted so quickly and in such a smart way that she saved my mom’s life that night. She is THE TRUE HERO.
After again recovering from all of that, my family and I learned of the option of a kidney transplant for my mom. My mom was now in end stage renal failure and a kidney transplant would be her best bet at returning to her normal, healthy life. I had such a real feeling inside of me that I knew I was going to be the one to donate. And so I got tested right away and found out I was not a good direct match. We had several offer to donate, which is incredible, but time after time it did not work out.
With the guidance and hard work of of the transplant team at Christ Hospital, my mom and I were cleared to be put into the National Kidney Registry and quickly were matched with a chain of recipients and donors.
I decided to donate because my mom deserves a happy and healthy life- one in which she can enjoy her husband, 5 children and 9 grandchildren and continue to run her own business. My mom is the most loving and selfless person so it was an easy decision. Selfishly, I want her to be in my life for as long as possible!
I was part of a kidney chain with 8 people. My kidney went to a woman in Washington, DC and my mom received a kidney from a person at Emory University Hospital.
Once I was cleared to donate, my mom and I were entered into the database of donors and recipients. We hit very quickly. I had my surgery first thing on January 4th and my mom had hers later that afternoon.
The transplant team was a huge help to me as far as resources, as well as a friend of the family who was a recipient and her husband who was her donor. After donating, the DePauw University Softball team was able to raise $5500 to put into a 'Donor Appreciation Fund' at Christ Hospital that will be used to share success stories with future donors and assist donors through the process. I also have been in touch with people who are interested in donating to share my own story and provide as much insight to those considering donating.
I was very fortunate to work for a University that allowed me to travel to the hospital for all testing with ease and supported me after the surgery. I did return to work 3 weeks after the surgery, which was a bit too soon. If I could do things differently, I would have given myself more time to recover.
The process was certainly emotional, but I never once doubted that I wanted to be a donor. I prepared for the surgery by taking good care of myself - eating well, exercising and trying to be as strong and healthy as possible heading into the surgery.
Most people were very supportive. I believe that most often people don't have much to say because it is so unfamiliar to them. That is why I try to continue to talk about it!
I had a huge support system in my family and my loved ones. The college softball team I was coaching also provided support and encouragement during my recovery process. I always felt loved and cared about.
I encourage someone considering donating to reach out to a living donor to ask as many questions and learn as much about the process as possible. There is an extensive amount of testing that has to be done prior to the surgery, so it is important to always remember your purpose for donating. For me, I always felt like the end goal of helping my mom was more important than the inconvenience of the many appointments. I also think it is important to have a plan for your recovery. You will have good days and bad days, so remember that your body went through a lot and in time your body will regain the strength and mobility you had prior to surgery.
I am not sure I can put into words how much being a kidney donor has changed my life. My perspective is forever changed. I feel more love in my heart than ever before and I believe fully in that the more we give to others the more we get in our own lives. I have always felt that it is important to be kind to others, but now I also feel it is important to realize that everyone has a story or an event that has happened in their life that they are dealing with and we need to be sensitive to that. Although we might not fully understand what others are going through, we can always be there to listen and to care.
Along with living kidney donation, I also wish to advocate for CPR and the fact that CPR saves lives. My sister began CPR so quickly when my mom went into cardiac arrest and that is what saved her life in the first place. I am proud of my sister and my mom for being two examples of strong and smart women!
I promote living kidney donation often and try to use my social media as inspiration for others who wish to donate and live a healthy and active life!
Location: Cincinnati, Ohio