Did you know it is National Kidney Month? As a three-time kidney transplant recipient, I am especially thankful this month for all the organ donors in the world who have given people like me another chance at life.
When I was 12, I was diagnosed with end-stage renal disease. My doctors tried all kinds of therapies to help me, but ultimately, the only option was a kidney transplant. Since 1986, when I had my first kidney transplant, I have been so fortunate to receive the gift of life many times. I am about to get my fourth kidney transplant in the next few months after 25 amazing years with this kidney, which was donated by a 16 year old deceased donor—who I did not know—from Rochester, Minnesota.
Kidney disease is a huge burden for many Americans, affecting the health of an estimated 37 million people. More than 800,000 Americans face end-stage kidney disease, requiring either dialysis or transplant. Unfortunately, more than 550,000 people in the US and more than 2 million worldwide undergo dialysis. More than 100,000 Americans are waiting for an organ transplant. Please consider being an organ donor—tell your loved ones you want to donate! Every nine minutes a new person is added to the national transplant waiting list and 17 people die every day waiting for an organ transplant. Eighty-five percent of the people on the list are waiting for a kidney.
It is the most incredible feeling to get a call that your transplant is going to happen. While I am not a mom, I liken it to having a baby…you are waiting for something big to happen, and when it does, it is life-changing!! After a transplant, patients often feel so much better immediately. Often, the kidney starts working right on the operating room table and patients who get a kidney often notice their anemia improves quickly, with rosy cheeks back, appetite better and little to no nausea. In my 38 years of transplants, I have been blessed to not have my transplant truly affect my quality of life or ability to work. Thanks to my amazing medical team and the donors who gave me the gift of life!
These are the reasons I opened Affinity Strategies eight years ago. While there are many incredible association management companies our clients could choose from, our company uniquely distinguishes itself because we are mission driven. Advancing medicine and patient care is truly at the heart of our company and our mission. It is my honor as a founder and transplant recipient to help our medical clients every single day!