The love and generosity of my son gave me a second chance at life.
Before my transplant, I suffered from kidney cancer and had to have my right kidney removed. After going through dialysis for five years, being in the hospital 14 times within 18 months and having my gallbladder removed, I was extremely worn out.
When my son, Emmanuel, first made the selfless suggestion of giving me his kidney, I declined it. I know how scared he is of needles and I wasn’t sure if my condition was hereditary. The last thing I wanted to do was put my son in danger.
I received a lot of false alarms of being “next in line” for a kidney. At this point, I couldn’t take it any longer. Emmanuel got tested and it turned out we weren’t a match. However, the paired kidney exchange program matches one incompatible donor/recipient pair to another in the same situation.
Four months later, Emmanuel and I went through the transplant process. I celebrated my one year anniversary of a new life on May 21, 2014. I am doing well and so is Emmanuel.
I recently became a volunteer with NJ Sharing Network. I feel it’s crucial to do so because I was so grateful; helping raise organ donation awareness is just one small way for me to give back.
I am also starting a non-profit organization, We Are Our Brother’s Keeper, which will spread education and awareness about organ donation to minorities. I recently held a luncheon gala to bring awareness to organ donation, celebrate the gift of life and share my journey with others.
I am now more driven to make people aware of organ donation and the exchange program.