I was a typical teenager, attending high school, hanging out with friends, worrying about what I might wear to school; totally oblivious to what was happening inside my body. I became very ill and was in hospital where my condition began to worsen. After numerous tests and procedures it was determined that my immune system was attacking my kidneys. I was put on dialysis to try to rid my body of the toxins that were building in my blood. At the same time I began a procedure, plasmapheresis, where my plasma was replaced with donor plasma, and a blood transfusion to build my quickly dropping hemoglobin. Being that I was only 16 years old when all of this was happening, I was in very unfamiliar territory. Thankfully I had a wonderful supportive family who stood by me every step of the way.
After 3 months my kidneys began functioning to where I was able to be removed from dialysis. The doctors informed me that within three to five years I would require a kidney transplant. Two and a half years later my blood tests began showing signs of my kidney function declining. I was put back on dialysis and the work up began to find a kidney donor. Family and friends were tested to see if any were a match.
Being an O+ blood type, it had to be that of an O+ donor that I received the kidney. Luckily I had two uncles that matched the criteria. They were both worked up and after much testing it was determined my mother's brother would donate. May 2000, ironically three years to the week that I first became sick, I received a kidney from my uncle.
Today I live a very healthy, happy, successful life and am forever thankful to my uncle who gave so unselfishly to allow me to live the life I live today. It is special to know that I am personally able to thank him everyday and call him on our anniversary to remind him what he has done. But to those people who took the time to donate blood which allowed me to begin my recovery and get back on a healing path, I am unable to thank them personally, but eternally grateful.
Without the time they took out of their schedules to donate blood to help a stranger, I am certain I would not be here today planning a wedding and loving life.
Thank you for your donation.