WEATHER »
The author and her boyfriend Bryan Nguyen at Lizard’s Mouth.

Courtesy Photo

The author and her boyfriend Bryan Nguyen at Lizard’s Mouth.


My Life: Finding Hope When Kidneys Fail

Become Your Own Donor Advocate and Raise Money with Karaoke for a Cause


I was diagnosed with lupus and kidney failure when I was in junior high school. By the age of 11, I was enduring three-hour-long dialysis treatments three times a week through a catheter in my chest just to survive. It was a difficult time; being on the brink of my teenage years, I kept my health issues to myself as much as possible so I could feel normal among peers, despite often leaving school early and constantly lacking energy.

Two years later, in the summer of 1999, right before I started high school, my mom donated one of her kidneys to me so I could live as a normal teenager. My body initially rejected the transplant — and I went back on dialysis for a few months after contracting H1N1 in 2010 — but I spent most of the next 15 years living life like most people, completing high school and college, and earning my teaching credential and master’s in education. I wouldn’t be the person I am today if it weren’t for my mom’s gift.

In January 2016, however, my transplanted kidney was removed due to a worrisome mass. I’m back on dialysis, and it’s a different experience now that I am 31 years old. With no family available to donate their kidney, I was forced to become my own advocate. I turned to social media and made my health struggles very public in a desperate search for a donor. It seemed crazy, but I’d read the success stories and didn’t have much choice otherwise, for the national waitlist can take 10 years.

After a month, I received a message from someone whom I had never met. He’d heard about my story from a friend, was willing to donate, and went through the testing. I eventually decided to accept a donation from a family friend instead, but I will never forget the fact that someone I’ve still never met was willing to give me the gift of life.

For anyone in need of a kidney donor, I hope this inspires you to be your own advocate. There are people out there willing to give the gift of life — you just need to find them.

4∙1∙1

The author is hosting Karaoke for a Cause to benefit the National Kidney Foundation on Friday, May 13, at 7:30 p.m. at Dargan’s Irish Pub & Restaurant (18 E. Ortega St.). See karaokeforacausesb.org.

To submit a comment on this article, email letters@independent.com or visit our Facebook page. To submit information to a reporter, email tips@independent.com.



Be succinct, constructive, and relevant to the story. Leaving a comment means you agree to our Discussion Guidelines. We like civilized discourse. We don't like spam, lying, profanity, harassment or personal attacks.

comments powered by Disqus
event calendar sponsored by:

Los Padres Forest Officials Ban Unpermitted Campfires

Wildfire conditions prompt caution.

County Out $2M Annually on Recycled Paper

A changing world market is to blame.

Electricity Bailout?

Senator Hannah-Beth Jackson squares off against Governor Jerry Brown.

Abel Maldonado Confronts Cannabis Questions

Inspectors visited 30 acres in San Luis Obispo County.

Santa Barbara Sees 67 Percent Increase in Valley Fever

People living in Central Coast should avoid breathing dusty air.