New Kidney - New Life – Bravelets

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New Kidney - New Life

Posted on October 19 2016

New Kidney - New Life
I was diagnosed with Lupus and kidney failure when I was 11 years old. As a result, I was placed on kidney dialysis and had to endure 3 hour sessions of treatment 3 times a week . I went through junior high school having to leave school early two days a week to go to dialysis, coming home completely drained and still having to complete my homework etc. Since my kidney function showed no improvements after 2 years on dialysis, my mom made the brave decision to donate one of her kidneys to me in 1999. I didn't realize it at the time, but this was the most amazing gift anyone could ever give me. It allowed me to complete high school as a 'normal' teenager and continue my dream of becoming a teacher. After completing my undergrad at Santa Barbara City College and Univeristy of Santa Barbara at California, I recieved my Multiple Subject Teaching Credential and Masters in Education from Antioch University in Santa Barbara and soon began my work as a classroom teacher. I will also say that my mom is as healthy as ever today and doing great!

I was able to teach for six years, but not without its struggles. Since Lupus is an autoimmune disorder and having a transplant and taking anti-rejection drugs makes you more likely to get sick, I was often not well. It made the daily routine of teaching more challenging, but I kept at it.

In 2011 I contracted H1N1 (swine flu) and pneumonia. I was taken to the hospital for medical treatment and during this process my lung collapsed and my organs began to fail. I was placed in a medical induced coma and on dialysis to help keep me alive. After a month, I woke up from the coma and continued to receive treatment in the hospital. I had to learn how to walk, speak and even eat again as my muscle memory and strength was completely depleated. It was the most difficult thing I have ever been through. Whenever I am faced with struggles in my life, I remind myself that I am a fighter. If I can make it through that, there is nothing I can't accomplish.

I am an extremely motivated individul and a fighter through and through. I try to be a very independent person and I sometimes hesitate to ask others for help, but I know that I can't do this on my own. I need the support of my family, friends, community and beyond to share my story and my need for a living kidney donor.

My Passion:

I knew at an early age that I wanted to help others in my community. Towards the end of my high school education I had my mind set on becoming a teacher where I knew I could make a difference in people's lives.

I was very fortunate to work six years as an educator both in Santa Barbara Unified School District and Goleta Union School District. I helped support student learning in grades 1st through 8th and I absolutely loved every minute of it. Through my teaching experience I discovered my passion for connecting with children and teaching them in a way that encouraged them to discover their own passions in life.

Unfortuntately, in January of 2014 I had to make the extremely difficult decision to leave my classroom teaching position behind to focus more on my health. Continually getting sick, wasn't fair to myself, my students or the school staff. Since then, it has been my mission to find a career where I am making a difference in my community while still being able to take care of myself. I am determined to find a job that not only fuels my passion for helping others but truly makes a lasting impact on my community in Santa Barbara.

I was fortunate enough to work for a couple of great businesses/organizations temporarily since I left the classroom and now have a better idea of what I want in my life. I also met some amazingly supportive people while at those jobs, for which I am very grateful.

As of February 27th 2015 I have been without a steady job or paycheck, but was able to tutor privately to make ends meet. Through this experience my passion for educating people about kidney health, failure and transplant has developed. I have used my free time to create Karaoke for Kidneys as a way to help raise awareness in my local community and beyond. I want to help people prevent kidney disease as well as support dialysis patients find kidney donors and get matched with appropriate medical centers and programs.

I am looking forward to continuing to build Karaoke for Kidneys while helping to raise money for the National Kidney Foundation.

As of September 28th, 2016 I was lucky enough to receive a new kidney transplant because of a dear friend of mine and the UCLA Paired Exchange Program that matches people with kidney donors.
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