At the age of 12, I lost my mother after she received a kidney transplant. Unfortunately, the genetic disease (Polycystic Kidney Disease) was passed to me. I knew that I had it for nearly 20 years before my kidneys began to fail severely. Up until I was close to kidney failure, the possibility that I might someday need a transplant was always something that loomed far out there in the future.
I lived those two decades like most people, fell in love, got married, and started a family. My own daughter was 7 when my transplant became a reality. Because of my own childhood experience with my mother’s transplant, the thought that my daughter might face the same loss I had was never far from my mind. I am grateful for the advances in medicine that make transplant today a much different experience than it was for my mother, just one generation ago, and those advances are continuing.
Because someone said “yes” to being an organ donor, I can be my daughter’s mother. A teenage girl needs her mother, and probably no one knows that more than I do. I am finishing my last two semesters of nursing school, after which I want to work in the transplant field. I remember so clearly the morning that my transplant coordinator called me to come to the hospital right away, how my life was changed that day. I would like to be that voice on the line, that person who is an advocate for the patient who is facing such a life-changing event.