A New Direction
As a senior in high school I learned I had kidney disease that would eventually necessitate a transplant. The next fall I headed for college to prepare for a career in medicine. In the middle of my sophomore year I completely lost kidney function and started dialysis.
Over the next 2 years I continued my studies despite 7 operations and numerous complications with dialysis. Despite these setbacks I was still on course to complete my studies on time and earn my degree in 4 years.
In January of my senior year (1995) I, like all cadaveric transplant recipients, received the call that set my life in a new direction; I learned that a kidney was available for me. On January 25, 1995, I received my transplant.
Over the last 7 years many wonderful things have happened to me. I realized my dream of becoming a physician earning my medical degree from Indiana University School of Medicine in May, 2000. I met my wife and together we moved to Ohio to continue my medical training in pediatrics with the ultimate goal of a career in neonatology (newborn infant medicine). Finally, on February 2, 2001 my wife, Jennifer, gave birth to our first child, Nate.
I have met many wonderful people over the last 9 years as I have lived with kidney disease. So many have helped me through their prayers and actions, but the ones who helped me the most, my donor family, are still strangers to me. As a physician, I have experienced with patients’ families the tragedy of an untimely death. These experiences have deepened the already profound respect I have for the family who in the midst of their own grief made possible the realization of the dreams of a boy from northern Indiana who is now a husband, father, and physician.