This Saturday I spent the day with two of my favorite people: my mom and my aunt Theresa, who donated her kidney to me four years ago. We attended a party for liver and kidney transplant donors and recipients, to honor the donors and explore the different organizations all about organ donation. It was very cool to know that we were all gathered because of one thing: the gift of life.
In my day-to-day life, I know about my kidney transplant, and sometimes I tell people about it, but every once in a while, it really hits me: I am walking around with my aunt's kidney. This happened at the gathering when I could see that some of the people we talked to were really moved by our story. The fact that I had two failing kidneys and Theresa donated her own kidney to me is unfathomable.
It was great to be able to be there and honor my donor. We went out to dinner afterward, and we were reminiscing about the moments leading up to the surgery. From the time we found out, to the time we had the surgery, to the time after.
The night before the surgery, Theresa came over to the Children's side of the hospital to say hi and goodbye before the surgery. We had come so far; Theresa had had months of tests, I had had months of tests, and we still had a long road to go, but we were still there, still alive, still silly. Theresa was there for me in every way she could be. The surgeon met us there too, and we all had a moment as human beings about to go into a life changing surgery, with a caring and extraordinary surgeon to take care of us.
Next thing we knew, we woke up from surgery. I remember not being able to believe it was over. I must have asked my sister a thousand times before finally believing that the surgery was over. And the first thing that Theresa said when she woke up was: how's my niece?
I still can't believe her heroism. I sill can't believe everything she risked for me. I stillcan't believe that I'm walking around with her kidney. And here we are, about four years later, still here, still alive, still silly, and closer than ever.
I never thought I would be able to drive a car. I never thought I would be able to do anything that a normal teenager does because of my condition. I was really sick, and I didn't realize it. I can do anything I want with my life because of my aunt. If she hadn't given me a kidney, I might still be on dialysis, not being able to go to school, not being able to spend my summer days at the beach, not even being able to go to my junior prom. But because of my aunt, I can live a normal life. Thank you, Theresa, for my life.