It was 2 years ago today, July 21st, 2021, when my son Will and I walked into Emory Hospital at 5:00 am for kidney transplant surgery. Some days it feels like it was an eternity ago and others like it was yesterday.
Our story began in August of 2020, when Will was rushed to the hospital. We learned he was in kidney failure and almost lost him. Will was immediately put on dialysis and the impact to both him and the family was substantial. The doctor’s appointments were never-ending, he was in pain and was surrounded by others in the same situation where there was a constant fear that he would endure this forever. The surroundings were challenging and it was difficult to remain positive.
On July 1st of 2021, I received the greatest phone call of my life… I WAS THE MATCH to donate a kidney to Will! I cannot fully describe the emotions I experienced hearing from the medical team at Emory Hospital after many months of testing. We asked people to please pray for Will, me, our family, and the medical staff. Millions of people all over the world read our post and offered prayers and support.
Along the way, God sent angels to help light the path ahead. We kept our situation quiet at first and felt it was important to share the story. We want to empower people to go to their doctor if they are feeling ill, understand kidney disease and get tested, support those in need, learn their family history and how to become an organ donor. We know God had a plan and our mission is now to share our experience and serve others.
In the time since, Will has testified before legislative committee and I have authored and successfully passed the “Giving the Gift of Life Act” in Georgia in 2022. Together, we are working on assisting other states pass this legislation as well as testifying at committee for federal legislation. This spring, Will and I worked with our friend Dave Galbenski to bring the first Living Donor Awareness night to the Atlanta Braves. Will spearheaded conversations with the TSA and the airline industry and we are lobbying to bring the organs back to cabin of airplanes for travel. Since 9/11, several hundred organs have been damaged or lost due to being stored in the cargo area. We also work with countless wonderful organization solving problems, mentoring families, and paying it forward.
The outpouring of support these past two years is still overwhelming and heartwarming, and simply more than words can describe. Will and I are both doing great! We are fully healed and working tirelessly to transform the transplantation process. Thank you to our worldwide prayer army. There is goodness all around us and we are grateful and healthy two years later… July 21, 2023!
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