Risa Simon, Transplant Recipient
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As a preemptive kidney transplant recipient who received the greatest gift of all—the gift of life, I will attempt to share my story of immense gratitude...
First and foremost, I’m living my best life possible because I’m free of dialysis. I have never been on it and I hope to never need it, thanks to my precious non-related angel—and living kidney donor, Melissa Blevins.
Melissa donated one of her kidneys to me during the prime of her life and at a time when I had experienced numerous “disqualifications” from previously tested potential donors. These setbacks hit hard as the reality of our nation’s life-threatening waitlist (and associated hardships with dialysis) appeared to be approaching faster than I anticipated.
While I remained hopeful, I had no idea the old adage “Good things are worth waiting for” would came into play during such a casual conversation with such a highly esteemed person.
“I’d like to donate one of my kidney’s to you Risa” never sounded so good. It was so unexpected—not that offers of this enormity ever are—yet this time it was different. This time it was even more surreal. For some unexplainable reason, I never questioned whether she’d pass all the tests. For some unexplainable reason, I was certain that my “ideal” donor had just revealed herself to me. A feeling that has since rocked my world with uncanny confirmation as it oozes out my “gratitude portal” each and every day.
Though Melissa and I we felt a kindred spirit of sorts from day one, we now have a sister-like connection like no other. Even our cross-match tests confirmed this as so with our sister-like antigen match!
When Melissa’s left kidney became a part of me, I affectionately renamed her MAK, the acronym that stands for Melissa’s Amazing Kidney – and that she is! On June 8th of every year, Melissa and I rejoice in the celebration of MAK by honoring what she coined as our KidneyVersary® —a day of heart-felt joy, appreciation and MAK-filled gratitude.
Melissa’s extraordinary gift of human kindness shall forever keep my lighthouse illuminated in deep gratitude, as it aligns surrounding vessels with the significance of life’s purpose.
Risa Simon, Patient Advocate
Author, Patient Educator, Mentor, Speaker
ShiftYourFate.com, KidneyKinships.org & TheProactivePath.com