Kidney disease, specifically interstitial nephritis is something my family is all too familiar with.
My grandfather passed away in his 50’s and at the time was told he was too old for dialysis. In 1995, my uncle received a kidney transplant, after being on dialysis for 7 years. My mother was also born with this debilitating kidney disease.
In the fall of 2007, my mother’s kidneys started deteriorating at a rapid pace. She was put on the transplant waiting list, which we knew could take years. We saw what my uncle had to go through with dialysis and did not want my mom to have to do the same.
A few family members, including myself, went to get tested to see if we could find a match for my mom. At the time, my mom and I worked together at the same company. One day, in late 2007, I went over to her desk and asked what she was doing on January 22nd. When she replied that she had no idea as it was still months away, I told her that was the day that she would be getting her new kidney!
24 years earlier, my mom had given me life and now it was my turn to return the favor and give life to her. On January 22nd, 2008, I was able to donate one of my kidneys to my mom. I spent 2 days in the hospital and was back to work in 2 weeks. Since the surgery, I got married, had 2 children, ran a spartan race, and am running my third 5k in the next month. My life has dramatically improved in so many ways post-donation and I have absolutely no limitations. I am able to do everything I was able to prior to the donation and am now even more focused on healthy living.
I am living an even more active lifestyle than I was before the donation as I had never run any type of race or even gone to a gym on any regular basis. I feel as though donating my kidney has pushed me to do so many things outside of my comfort zone and has me continuing to strive to live a healthier life.
I am also an advocate for living donation and kidney research. I am an active member of the National Kidney Foundation of Greater New York and have led the effort to raise close to $100,000 to help promote organ donation and fund research to eradicate kidney disease.
Organ and tissue donation helps others by giving them a second chance at life. I would tell anyone who is considering becoming a living donor that it will not only change someone else’s life for the better but will most definitely change your life as well. It has certainly changed mine. I am so grateful that I was able to share my spare and donate a kidney to my mother and I would do it again in a heartbeat. As the saying goes, “Don’t take your organs to heaven, heaven knows we need them here!”