My Donor’s Life-Saving Gift was Music to My Ears
ABOVE: Roberta (center) met her donor’s family: Connie and her son Scott
Meeting the family of my kidney donor, Loren, six months after my transplant was a blessed four hours full of pictures, memories and prayers.
Loren and I had several common interests: he loved music and I am a musician; he was a religious man and my religious community rallied behind me as I waited for a kidney. I pray for Loren and his family every day and live fully to honor Loren and attempt to match his passion for life.
Prior to my transplant, at the age of just 26, I learned I had kidney disease by sheer accident. I had UTI problems and high blood pressure, and was diagnosed with Focal Segmental Glomerulosclerosis (FSGS). The diagnosis brought me to tears. My father died 18 months after he started dialysis and I didn’t want to be another statistic representing one who died waiting for a transplant. Even though doctors found the disease in its early stages and I began dialysis, over the course of the next eight years, my condition deteriorated. In 2008, I was listed for a kidney transplant.
The day my phone buzzed at 9:00 a.m. with a Columbus area code carried a message of hope and possibility that forever changed my life. I was on the waiting list for a kidney for three and a half years when medical professionals at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center told me there was a match. On the way to the hospital, I asked a friend to call my church requesting prayers for me and a successful surgery. As people were congratulating me on getting the call, I started to pray for my donor’s family who just lost a loved one. On March 4, 2011, I received my life-saving kidney transplant and just hours after waking up in the recovery room, I wrote the gratitude letter to my donor family that led to our precious meeting.
I currently work with clients with developmental disabilities at ABLE, Inc. as a way to give back for receiving a renewed life and am searching for full time employment in case management. I am also back to being a full-time musician my church, the community that supported me through my dialysis and transplant journey. I’m thankful my donor Loren shared my passion for music because every time I play, I send extra love his family’s way.
Have you said yes? I’m living proof that registering as an organ donor saves lives. Register as an organ, eye and tissue donor today at your local BMV agency or at www.lifelineofohio.org.