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Recipient Stories

Swimming for Life

Back in 1981 when I should have been having fun, to the docs I was sent when my energy was gone. “Your kidneys,” they said “aren’t functioning as they should.” “They’ll probably get worse. Nothing can be done.” I was only seventeen, and didn’t know what to think. But the news, including I should never have children, was very hard to take. So on with my senior year of high school I went, with a future uncertain and dreams unmet.Through the 80’s and 90’s I journeyed through life. Meeting many times of joy as well as hardship and strife. I taught many special children and made wonderful friends too. I had to depend on the Lord to get me through.

I traveled here and there and later became a bride. In 1991, I became a mommy of a premature baby that died. These were times of trauma and grief, But, little Nathan, my angel, is now with the Lord resting in peace. To add to the mess, my marriage ended in divorce. But the Lord understands complications, of course.

With faith and perseverance onward I sped. Through many challenges and struggles, The Lord held my hand. In 1999 after a visit to the doc. “A transplant,” they said “is my only hope.”

“A new kidney is what your body will need to cope.” With a heavy heart and feeling quite shocked. I went directly home to pray with friends from God’s flock.

In spite of the news I continued to teach. To better the lives of little ones, was the goal for which I reached. Then one day while teaching at New Hope School A fellow teacher named Janet, gave hope to my soul. She would like to be tested as a donor, she said. I couldn’t believe it, I didn’t know what to say. I just had a feeling that my life was about to change in a very big way.

In the next few months, my health began to decline. Two surgeries were needed. I was no longer feeling fine!

Dialysis too, became part of my life. Shots in my stomach were not a delight. I had to be tied up to bags of solution each day and night. Energy was low, but spirits were high. I prayed and believed a miracle was nigh.

In the summer of 2000 a miracle began. Miss Janet was tested –“You’re a match!” they said. We were thankful and grateful and filled with glee. On October the sixth, the surgery would be.

So in early October, with angels by my side The miracle of new life was given and death was denied. The surgery was successful, my new organ working great. I became healthy and happy, but gee did I gain weight.

In February 2001 to the Apple Valley Pool I went. It was time to shed those pounds and make my condition—mint! Now that my kidney was working, I wanted to see Just how much I could do with my new energy. So I swam up and down those lanes with glee. And my new nickname soon became, “Miss Fishie.” My daily schedule was complete with grad school, church, theatre, and teaching. I couldn’t believe all the things I had been missing. Hanging out with my friends and enjoying a variety of activities were just some of the things I could do with my new kidney. With swimming and walking and watching my diet. Sometimes the urge for chocolate—I just had to deny it! I became “fit as a fiddle” and swam a mile each day.

Back to the doctor I reported in May. “A mile a day!” the nurses and doctor explained. “With that kind of ability, you must join the Buckeye Games!”

In July 2001 to the Buckeye Games I went. I felt excited and scared, and even a bit sick. But soon I discovered I had nothing to fear! My comrades, like me, were just happy to be there. So we cheered and we yelled and we encouraged our team. It’s not about winning, but a celebration of life, indeed!

It was my first swimming meet in about twenty years. But my hard work paid off and it was fun to hear the cheers. Two golds and a silver were hung on my neck, By my special friend, Janet, who gave my life back. For without her gift, I wouldn’t be here. And, I wouldn’t be swimming or running here and there. My life is so pleasant now with the things I can do. Thanks to the Good Lord and miracles, I am living life anew.

Each day I am excited as I enter the pool. I swim and I swim as I reach for each goal. Who would have thought I could swim three miles in one session? I really do think this sport is an obsession.

I am thankful to the Lord! And I am happy and blessed, to tell you my story And wish my teammates the best. Though life sometimes throws curve balls and leaves bumps in the road, It is important to lean on Jesus to lighten the load. So, “Miss Fish” is off to the races.

I offer my best. It is up to the Lord to take care of the rest!

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