Meet Kidney Donor Athlete, Brandie!

Before I decided to donate my spare, I played hockey 5 days a week, ran at least 1 half marathon a quarter, and played softball every Sunday. I have always been an athlete and I never wanted to change my lifestyle.

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October 2017, I saw a post in one of my Christian running groups on Facebook of a wife asking for someone to donate a kidney to her husband who is in aggressive kidney failure. I had met the couple a few years prior at a half marathon in Vegas. I thought to myself, “what if I could save his life and his kids would have their dad around for many more years?” I decided to take the leap and found out I was a perfect match!

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At the time, I didn’t think about the impact it would have on my sports because, in all honesty, I think I knew everything was going to work out the way it was supposed to. February 28th, 2018, I successfully donated my left kidney, and his body accepted in like it was his own! Yay!

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I knew the recovery was going to be rough at first but get better within 8 weeks. The first month and a half were extremely rough, and I was going stir crazy not being able to do any exercise. Before my surgery, I was signed up to run a Ragnar Race in So Cal in April exactly 8 weeks post-surgery. I was feeling good and told myself that even if I had to walk or needed someone to run my legs for me, I was still going to go and try my best.

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On my way out to California, I started to get sick. I ended up not running the race due to being in the hospital with the Norovirus. We believe it was due to my weakened immune system from my kidney donation. I gave it about another month and then I started playing softball. I figured I should start with the least strenuous and work my way back all my normal activities.

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Fast forward, I am 2 years since my surgery. I am back to my normal activity level and feeling great. The only impact I still feel is the need to drink a lot more water. I am also more cautious about what medication I am taking. I try to never take ibuprofen or other medications that are hard on my kidney. If I had to do it all over again, I would in a heartbeat!

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