This time of year always brings great reflection on the year that has gone by far too quickly. I hope and pray to become a better person, mother and friend.
While reflecting on all the things that have happened this year I find myself deeply saddened by the loss of my Bonnie. She passed on November 1st and it's been a struggle trying to deal with why. But then I realized there was no why. It is just is the circle of life. It brings me joy knowing how much she supported me with my decision to donate a kidney. I can laugh now thinking how much she enriched my life and how lucky I was to have her for the time I did. It is rare when you have someone in your life that loves you unconditionally, can tell you your make up doesn't match your skin tone, is brave and such a fighter.
Being with her through the last fifteen months has taught me so much. I realize that when I donated a kidney I was able to give someone else the chance to be with their loved ones. I find that my gift...to myself...I am the fortunate one who was able to do that. I am the one who was blessed to be able to donate.
As I continue to be an advocate for those who are interested in donating, I hear so many stories and situations that I carefully think through before opening my mouth (which is not easy). Each one brings something unique and to think about. There was a woman who was going to through testing who wanted to be a non-designated donor like myself...only to find that she only had one kidney. She was so upset that she couldn't donate and I reminded her that she was willing to step up to the plate to do something special that most people would never even consider!
As I've said in previous posts, it's not for everyone but I believe in my heart that until another solution is found that living donors are they only way to reduce the waiting list for a kidney. It's something to think about seriously. April of 2015 will mark my five year anniversary of donating. I can't believe how quickly that time has gone. If you are reading this post for yourself I hope you will share it with others. If ever you could make a difference...donating a kidney will give the gift of life. If you are not ready to donate now or ever, at least consider being a donor on your state license. Your one kidney, could not only save a life but end up allowing a paired exchange like my own that allowed eight people to receive a kidney.
I want to thank Harvey Mysel of the Living Kidney Donors Network for being my mentor through the process. He was introduced to me through John and Diane Brockington, of the John Brockington
Foundation in San Diego, who were responsible for my being inspired to donate. I want to thank Angela
Stimpson-Cuozzo a kidney donor sister that has donated so much of her time to educating and sharing her donation experience with so many people who want the opportunity to chat.
If you are someone you know needs a kidney be sure to pass on the LKDN.org which is a non-profit group founded by Harvey Mysel to help people understand that there are many ways to help you share your and story of needing a kidney. His site offers so much info on paired donation, axing the myth that because your spouse or family member isn't a match doesn't mean they can't be part of a pairing.
Education the public to the possibilities of becoming a living donor are so needed and he has dedicated years of his life to make this his mission.
Most of all...for those waiting for a kidney...never give up hope. There are so many people out there that are willing to help. Here is to a wonderful 2015. Make a difference.