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Why everyone should become an organ donor.

Gina Patrick
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Everyone should be on the registered organ donor list. There really is no other way for me to put this. When you die you cannot take your body with you. You simply have no use for it anymore. Did you know that if you become a registered organ donor you have the potential to save and heal more than 75 lives? Did you know that 95% of Americans are in favor of being a donor but only 58% of them are actually registered?

With March being national kidney awareness month, and April being national donate life month, I wanted to honor my mothers kidney donor by donating 3% of our total sales for the month of April to the Donate Life foundation.

I wanted to go a little into our story with organ donation and how it has affected our family. Specifically with my mother and her kidney donation.

In 2016 after a routine check in with her doctors, my mom was notified to go have some blood work done because her doctor found microscopic blood in her urine. After a few tests she was told that she was in end stage renal failure with her kidneys functioning at only 10%. Her symptoms were so mild they were barely detectable.

Did you know that most symptoms of kidney disease/failure don’t even appear until more advanced stages? We didn’t. After a series of biopsies and tests, she was sent to Mayo Clinic to get screened and to be put on the donation waitlist. After she got the go ahead (after rigorous testing and countless office visits) she was placed on the list not knowing how long she would have to wait. My mom did not let this get her down. She traveled and did some amazing things while still doing dialysis every night. She is one of the strongest most bad ass women I know and I am forever inspired by her will to push through and keep going.

My sister and I both wanted to donate, but there are a lot of restrictions on childbearing ages and wait times before and after giving birth. We were both trying to strategize family size/time frames/deadlines while also trying to see  if we could get tested to donate. It was a lot to take in, but we had both decided that we would get tested to see if we were a match.

Literally the exact day that my parents returned from an almost 2 week trip out west my mom got a call that they had found a genetic twin match kidney from someone on the organ donor list that was being taken off of life support. This person saved so many lives, one of them being my mothers. My mom had certain antibodies that make her a bit more difficult to match they said that it could even make her wait time even longer. For them to find a perfect genetic twin match kidney was very rare, and such a friggin’ blessing. She received her kidney in early August 2018 and was a warrior for the next 2 months while in recovery in Jacksonville FL. We had such an amazing team at Mayo Clinic and such an amazing support team of friends and family members that came together to support mom and all of us during this intense time of our lives. We are forever thankful for all of the dinners, words of support, prayers, love, dog watching, grocery shopping, laundry and dish washing you all did for us. It really meant the world.

We owe this person so so much for their eternal gift of life. My moms quality of life has improved so much from this procedure. I hope that one day we will be able to meet their family so we can show them how grateful we are for their family member.

Becoming a registered organ donor is as easy as registering at your local DMV when you get a new license, or you can go to www.donatelife.org to register as well. It takes all of 2 minutes.