Giving Back Because of the Gift of Life: A Kidney Recipient's Passion

Tina_and_Kim_at_Taylors_Gift_Disco_RunIf you’ve ever seen Kim around town, you’ve probably noticed her wearing signature colors of Taylor Blue and Donate Life green, in some form or fashion. Whether it be on her nails, earrings, shirt, or jewelry… Kim loves to use every opportunity to spark up a conversation about organ donation - and we love that about her! Her heart is on fire with a passion for organ donation, and she has so graciously blessed us at Taylor’s Gift Foundation with her time and talents. Please help us thank our September volunteer of the month, Kim Bradshaw!

Photo: Kim (Kidney Recipient) and Tina (Double Lung Transplant Recipient and August Volunteer of the Month) at the Disco Run in May 2014

A Perfect Fit

We are lucky to have someone on our volunteer team who lives her passion for organ donation SO out loud. As a kidney recipient, Kim is a wonderful testimony to the beautiful gift of life that organ donation is. With a desire to share the message of hope to as many as she possibly could, she joined in with Taylor’s Gift where she has done just that - and so much more.

kim-bradshaw-2014-transplant-gamesKim is a special volunteer who immediately jumped in full force by becoming our Volunteer Coordinator. With her strong organizational skills and sweet smile, she warmly welcomes everyone with open arms, helps our volunteers find their fit, and gives great insight to back end operations of the organization.

Kim recently participated in the 2014 Transplant Games (she’s been going for over 20 years now!) where she was the head of a team from Oklahoma. We are so proud of you Kim! Thank you for joining us in our journey.

Photo: Kim at the 2014 Transplant Games

Looking to Participate?

We’re still looking to fill a few volunteer slots for the upcoming 5th Annual Taylor’s Gift Golf Tournament at TopGolf in The Colony! If you’re interested in playing in the tournament, be sure to register soon - spots are filling up quickly!

A Volunteer’s Perspective

What interested you to start volunteering with us?

I am originally from Muskogee, Oklahoma and moved to Texas about a year ago. I was diagnosed with Lupus at age 13 and by the time I was 19 yrs old I was on dialysis. I was blessed with a perfect match kidney from my sister on August 16, 2001, and I have been involved with organ donation awareness for over 30 years.

Being a kidney recipient myself I fully understand that - in order to reduce the waiting list for individuals needing a transplant - we must provide positive education and information to dispel the myths about organ donation that generate fear within the general public. New to the area, I was in the search for an outlet for my advocacy efforts and had prayed that the Lord would open up opportunities for me.

I first heard Taylor's story when I saw Tara listening to Taylor's heart on the Today show. It was such a moving story and I shared tears of joy that day along with Todd and Tara. I never imagined that I would have the opportunity to meet the Storch family, much less work with them. Then one day, as I was checking my Facebook page, a message from Jeff Probst promoting organ donor awareness and highlighting Taylor's story came through. Since I was a fan of Jeff and the Survivor series, I naturally wanted to know what Jeff had to say about this cause. After watching the video of the story, I immediately pulled up the Taylor's Gift website and was amazed!

Discovering that Taylor’s Gift was so close to my new house, I knew this was my prayer being answered with my first call. Wanting to purchase one of the awesome "Outlive Yourself" t-shirts, I called and left a message stating that I would like to order the shirt and would be happy to pick it up personally since I lived in the area. You can imagine how surprised I was when Tara called me back personally! What a pleasure it was to speak to her! We talked for awhile about her family’s story, and she was interested to hear of my involvement with organ donation. She encouraged me to sign up on the volunteer page, which I did immediately. Not long after, Tara called and asked if I would be interested in being directly involved with coordinating the volunteers for the Taylor's Gift Foundation events - I was thrilled. The past 30 years of my experience had led me to this very moment and the Lord was opening the door - of that I have no doubt.

How has volunteering impacted your life?

My goal is to keep positive influence from good people in my life at all times. I prayed for this and the Lord blessed me with the wonderfully positive people from Taylor’s Gift Foundation (TGF). Through working with TGF, and new friends who have the same passion for making a difference in the world of organ donation that I have, I feel right at home here in Texas. I am proud and honored to be part of the TGF team as we break down barriers and open doors for individuals who are affected by organ donation - spreading the word of the tremendous need for organ donation.

What has been your favorite experience with Taylor’s Gift?

My involvement with TGF has been such a short time but I would have to say the Disco Run has been my favorite memory to date. We were able to sign up 11 new organ donors at the event! One mother came up to me with her son and asked me to explain what TGF was all about so that he would understand why he ran that day. It was especially gratifying, to me, to be able to share Taylor's story and to be that "show and tell", as a recipient, for the young man. Being a kidney recipient in person helped to bring home the message to him of the final positive outcome of organ donation.

Anything else you'd like to share with our readers?

I feel that I have been blessed by health challenges in order to give me the life experiences necessary to help someone who may be struggling with the same issue. I can empathize and relate based on my own personal experience. While all this is true, I don't typically tell someone about my transplant from the moment I meet them - I want them to get to know me first and see me as perfectly normal.

So many times throughout my life, when someone whom I have befriended for a time learns of my transplant they look at me with astonishment. The look I get is that of puzzlement, and I like to respond with, "I received a kidney not two heads!". By the time I inform them of my transplant, they have gotten to know someone who could pretty much do anything that she wanted to, and had as much as (if not more) energy as anyone else... someone who looks and acts perfectly healthy. Often times when I am helping my son with a project he will say, "Mom, I need for you to stop and go home because I cannot keep up this pace with you and I cannot go to bed if you are still working". I love that I am not only able to keep up with my own son, but also outpace him.

Promoting awareness around organ donation is my passion and I don't mind being the "show and tell" for the cause. I believe we all have a job to do and I have been blessed to have this one. It is my passion, my ambition, my goal, and my blessing. Every day I say, “Thank you Lord!”

Learn More: Volunteer Opportunities

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