By Shawna Garry, living donor

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Ethan and Evan

My twins, Ethan and Evan, were born eight weeks premature. All was going well until Evan developed a urinary tract infection.  Doctors discovered his kidneys were not properly formed – we were told his kidneys would not function for long, but for how long, they didn’t know. To say my husband and I were stunned is an understatement.

After five and a half weeks in the hospital, our twins were discharged to finally go home! We were able to settle into a routine and watch them develop into active and social boys.

And then, at the age of four, we learned that Evan’s kidneys were failing. His only options for survival were to go on dialysis or to receive a kidney transplant.  The decision was easy.  I knew we could not keep this energetic little boy attached to a dialysis machine several days a week for hours at a time.  I knew I held the answer to his health – I would give him one of my kidneys.

S. Garry1I started the matching process in April of 2013 and got the all-clear in August that same year. We were given a transplant date in June of 2014.

In the months leading to the transplant excitement was building. We knew he would have more energy and that he wouldn’t have to endure daily and weekly injections of medicine. He would be able to keep up with his twin again!

On June 18, 2014 our big day arrived – I gave my son life again!

Both of our surgeries and recoveries went very smoothly. To my amazement, the day after he was released from the hospital Evan was playing soccer in the front yard! For me, it was about a four-week recovery to get back to my normal self.

IMG_1545 (002)Today Evan is obsessed with watching and playing sports – he’s a star on his basketball and baseball teams.  He feels great and it is wonderful to watch him have boundless energy. It’s an amazing feeling to look at Evan and know that he will always carry a piece of me.

It was not a hard decision for me to give my four-year old son a kidney.  But knowing what I know now, I would have done it for anyone.  I’m living a perfectly healthy life with one kidney.  If you want to make a difference in someone’s life, please consider being a living kidney donor or sign up as a registered organ, eye and tissue donor. Either way, you may be someone’s second chance at life.