Hujambo! My name is Sarah and I am a proud member of Team Jabali, one of two teams planning to summit Kilimanjaro on World Kidney Day for KDA’s One Kidney Climb 2022. Jabali means “strong like a rock” and I can’t wait to show the world how strong we can be with one kidney.

I was inspired to donate my kidney when I learned that the father of an elementary school classmate had been on dialysis for six years and needed a transplant. Our transplant was successful on February 6, 2019, in Los Angeles, California. I am also a founding member of the Kidney Donor Athletes Board of Directors. 

The One Kidney Climb trip was the brainchild of myself and fellow team member Shawna Sampson, hatched during a virtual Yahtzee tournament happy hour. Shawna lamented that a possible trip to Kilimanjaro was canceled due to COVID-19 and I commented that Kilimanjaro was my idea for celebrating my 20th anniversary. We had the idea that if a group of donors climbed Kilimanjaro together, it would raise awareness for living donation. Two years later it is becoming a reality!

All the training hikes have given me a new appreciation for the beautiful place I live – San Luis Obispo, California. I love wearing my KDA gear on the trails and answering questions about why I have a kidney on my shirt or hat! 

When I’m not climbing mountains, I work as a student affairs professional and own my own business teaching Wilderness First Aid and CPR. I also volunteer with our local Search & Rescue unit and can’t wait to start training for my first Ironman in October 2022. I am so excited that my husband, Ben, will be accompanying our team on the climb (I promise I’ll come up with something else to celebrate our 20th anniversary!). We have a 9-year-old daughter, Mackenzie; our dog, Chewbacca; and two cats, Tashi and Dorje. 

More information about why I’m climbing Kilimanjaro and my kidney journey: San Luis Obispo kidney donor prepares to hike Mount Kilimanjaro, Fresno State News, KFSN News, Fresno ABC Affiliate.

Learn more about living kidney donation and Kidney Donor Athletes can be found at kidneyregistry.org and kidneydonorathlete.org

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