Meet Kidney Donor Athlete, Shannon!

My name is Shannon and I am a kidney donor athlete! 

My journey to being an athlete and my journey to being a kidney donor started separately but on February 20, 2017, they intersected. That was the day I read on Facebook about a little girl needing a kidney. Within minutes of reading the post, I clicked on the link provided to start the screening process to be considered as a donor. Little did I know that in just 6 months I would be part of an amazing miracle! 

I have been a runner since 1996 when a friend introduced me to the treadmill. I ran on and off for the next 19 years until 2015 when I committed to training for a half-marathon. I not only ran one half-marathon, but from November 2015 to April 2016, I ran 3 half-marathons, a 10K, and a 5K!  

I continued to average 16-20 miles a week right up until about a month before my donation surgery when I broke my ankle on a hike.  

My donation date was August 16, 2017. I gave my left kidney to a 3-year-old girl named Mira. The surgery was easy and the recovery much better than I expected. During my stay in the hospital, they encouraged walking and said if I made 15 laps around the ward, I would get a t-shirt. I told them “I am a runner, you have no idea what I will do for a t-shirt!!!”.

I took the recommended 6 weeks off work to recover, but I felt “normal” by about 4 weeks. My first day back to running was October 7, 2017, just over 7 weeks post-op and I ran 2 miles! My still healing ankle made the run harder than the surgery recovery. Of course, after taking 7 weeks off running, my stamina and endurance were gone but it returned fairly quickly. 

Since my donation, I have run one half-marathon, a mini-triathlon, and several 5K races. I have had no adverse side effects from the donation and it has not slowed me down one bit! I also have since taken up kayaking, and I continue to walk about 3 miles a day.  

Donating a kidney is one of the most rewarding things I have ever done. I am honored to have been able to partner in making a miracle happen. Completing 4 half-marathons and a mini-triathlon comes in a close second. I am proud to be a kidney donor athlete!! 

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