| My family has a rare, genetic kidney disease called Alport Syndrome. I never gave it much thought until my kidney function started to decline in 2012 – at the end of my fourth pregnancy.
In October, I was referred to the Transplant Center at University of Kentucky Hospital. After initial testing, I received a call from my coordinator letting me know that I was 99% sensitized with antibodies. This meant that I wouldn’t match 99% of the population of the United States. My coordinator warned me that it may take years to find a match; or it may not ever happen at all.
I was listed under the new UNOS waiting list rules on December 10, 2014. I hadn’t yet started dialysis, but had prepared myself that this is what my future held and that it may last a very long time. After only three weeks on the national waiting list, I received a phone call from UK on New Years Eve. On January 1, 2015 I received a cadaveric kidney transplant from an out of state donor.
I am the 9th transplant in my family. My grandmother received a cadaveric kidney in 1982 and is still living a healthy life with it. My dad has undergone two transplants, one of my uncles has also had two and another uncle has had three. Two of my aunts and an uncle have become living donors within the family.
Organ donation is very close to my heart and I feel like I received a true miracle. Every doctor who saw me at UK told me I should feel like I hit the lottery. I would love to help raise awareness in my community. As a mother of four children, I couldn’t have continued to live a healthy life and care for them without someone else making the decision to be a donor. There are so many people waiting on the chance at a healthy life. Organ donation is the most selfless thing anyone can do.