Tomorrow, June 25th 2005, will mark eight years since I receieved my lifesaving kidney transplant from my sister, Liz. That day eight years ago changed my life and the way I look at it. Previous to my transplant I was on dialysis and had to be attached to a machine for nearly four hours every other day. It was not a very fun way to live nor was it conducive to the life that I wanted to lead. I wanted to be with my family, friends and just be normal.
The minute I woke up from my surgery I could feel the difference as my body was finally able to rid itself from the harmful toxins that had built up and weren't taken out by dialysis. I was able to eat and drink normally. My prayers and those who loved me were answered. A miracle had occurred in my life and in the lives of those around me.
So many people are unaware of the great need for organ donations. There are a lot of facts that are not understood. If you have questions about organ donation check out the National Kidney Foundation website. This site can answer your questions about kidneys, kidney function, dialysis and organ donation. Another great site about organ donation and its need is UNOS which gives the stats on organ donation and other ways to help. Another that I like is Transplant Living which has information about all kinds of transplants, stats and other things.
Around this time every year I write about organ donation and how important it is to let your family know of your wishes either to donate or not if you should die unexpectedly. I understand that there are people who do not wish to be an organ donor and I can respect that. To those of you who do please, please let your family know. Even if you sign the back of your driver's license the medical community MUST ask your family if you are or wish to be an organ donor. If your family says no then that wish must be respected. There are so many more lives we could be saving if we would take the time to talk to our families about our wishes for organ donation.
In August I will be attending a camp for kids between the ages of 9-17 who have chronic kidney diease and are either on dialysis or have a kidney transplant. Last year was unforgettable and I am very excited to go again this year. It was very fulfilling to be with the kids as they struggle with the same things I struggle with or that I did when I was on dialysis. Every one of them wants a transplant and this cannot happen without people who are willing to donate their organs after their death.
So on this day of thanksgiving and rememberence for me I ask any of you to consider organ donation and talk to your family about your decision.
Thank you and God bless.