Meet Kidney Donor Athlete, Jose!

Before my kidney donation, I was quite active. I was consistently running 2 to 3 miles per day and engaging in strength training, which has been a passion of mine since I was in college. I also participated in the BolderBoulder 10k every year.  Actually, one of the things that I researched when I started my kidney donation journey in 2012 was whether I would be able to continue to lift weights with the same intensity and gain muscle – I remember that I had a very difficult time finding people’s story, so Kidney Donor Athletes is a great resource.

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My recovery went very smoothly, and I had a very positive experience overall. During the first couple of weeks after the surgery, I felt tired during the middle of the day, so I was taking naps. Not being able to immediately start lifting heavy weights was frustrating but very much worth it. This “discomfort” was a small price to pay to be able to give someone the ability to live their life normally.

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Since I couldn’t return to lifting weights right away, I started with some walking (I’ve always enjoyed walking) and then eventually returned to lifting weights a couple of months later. There were no unexpected hurdles along the way. I think that my transplant team did a very good job of educating me on what to expect as far as recovery.

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I was fortunate enough to be able to compete in the Men’s Health Urbanathlon in San Francisco in November of 2013, only three months after my donation (August 20, 2013) and I did very well with minimal training. The event was a 12-mile obstacle course throughout the city. The following year I competed in the same events in Chicago and New York City.

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My most consistent activity has been lifting, even if I go through seasons of life where I may not run, I will always find time to do some weight training.

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This past year has been an incredible year for me. I have gotten to meet so many more living kidney donors through my local 1Kidney Club (a social event), as well as Kidney Donor Athletes and Rock1Kidney. It pushes me to continue to be an advocate for living kidney donation not only through my words but by how I am living my life.

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I had several athletic events on my list for this year including the BolderBoulder and the Spartan Race but these have been canceled due to Covid-19. So instead I am picking up some trail running this summer (while keeping social distancing of course). There is something quite transcendent about being alone with your thoughts during a great run – it really energizes me.

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Overall, I feel awesome and I am living my best and most active life post kidney donation. To be frank, I feel beastly when I outcompete other guys at the gym and then let them know that I only have one kidney!

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