At age three, I was diagnosed with chronic kidney failure. I was put on peritoneal dialysis, in and out of the hospital, and underwent numerous procedures. None of my family members were a match. We waited.
I received my first kidney transplant when I was six. My life began from that moment on. I remember eating and loving food again, going to school, dancing to 80’s music with my sister, cuddling with my Mother, and laughing with
At age twelve, my transplanted kidney was failing. The news arrived at the onset of puberty, at a time when I was self-conscious about my physical appearance and curious and confused about cute boys and gossipy girls.
I was prepped for hemodialysis. I received my second kidney transplant only two months after being placed on the waiting list. This was a miracle. After my second transplant, I promised both my organ donor families—whoever they may be—that I was going to make a difference in other people’s lives and live my life to the fullest.
Since my second kidney transplant in 1995, I have been an ardent advocate for the organ transplant community. I actively volunteer for multiple transplant organizations. I write to and meet with legislatures about transplant issues, speak to the public about my story to increase the organ donation registration rate, and counsel transplant recipients and their caregivers. Multiple transplant organizations and my local newspaper, the Westchester County Journal News, support my efforts.
With every advocacy success, my organ donors and their families are with me. Not a day passes that I do not think of them. I can never thank them enough for giving me back my life. No words can capture the love and unbreakable bond between us, though we never met.
I now feel blessed that I endured health challenges as a child. It made me stronger and I appreciate life and all that I have. Most of all, I now show the world that the absolute power of organ donation and transplantation is that we are all connected in the circle of life.