Written by Anum Yoon, Friend of a Kidney RecipientNote from the Author: Thank you so much for letting me share Monica’s story, it is her experience that inspired me to become an advocate for organ donation. When I realized how many myths about organ donation there were, I wanted to create something that would help set the facts straight. I hope you learn something new about organ donation from this post!
I’ve been friends with Monica since we were nine. We were classmates in an international school in Hong Kong. When I first saw her in our third grade classroom, I knew I wanted to be her friend. She was really fun to be around and had one of those smiles that just lit up the room.
We became inseparable - BFFs so to speak. When her family had to move back to the States, only a year after our friendship began, we were devastated.
We didn’t expect to be able to keep our friendship intact over the course of ten years, especially considering the fact that we never had the chance to see each other, but we did. Then I moved to America for college.
My life in America was as perfect as it could be (as far as it went for a college kid) for the first few months of school. I finally had a best friend who lived in the same place as me, and it was so comforting to be able to start a new and exciting chapter of my life with her by my side.
Then, everything changed. I received a phone call at 3AM from Monica’s mom and I could barely understand what she said for at first. Finally it hit me, and my stomach sank with the news. Monica had been in an accident with a drunk driver.
Monica’s internal organs were severely injured from the impact of the accident, which presented a myriad of medical complications. The delayed bleeding from the damage made things harder for the doctors to save her kidneys. She lost 80% of her kidney function, and the doctors said it would be wise to undergo a transplant.
No one in her immediate family shared the same blood type as her, except for her mom. The tragic thing was that her mom had high blood pressure and was deemed an unsuitable donor. I would have gladly given Monica my kidney if we had been a match, but that sadly wasn’t the case.
Her kidneys needed immediate help. She ended up getting dialysis and was put on the waiting list for a transplant. She waited a year before she finally was able to get a new kidney. The wait seemed like forever, but we were all aware of how incredibly lucky she was to have had a relatively short wait. She got the second chance at life that we had all been praying for.
And as much as I hate drunk driving, because of what it did to my best friend, this tragic incident led me to advocate for a whole different cause – organ donation. While drunk driving awareness is prevalent, there are so many people who can’t tell the difference between a myth or reality when it comes to facts about organ donation. I can’t help but think that I could have lost my best friend if her donor hadn’t showed up. What if more people simply registered to become an organ donor?
It can be difficult to think about what happens to our bodies after we die, let alone deciding beforehand about what we’re going to do with our organs and tissue. But becoming an organ donor is a fulfilling choice that allows you to provide the gift of life to those in need. I just wish more people knew how much of an impact they could have through organ donation.
Get the Facts
How much do you know about organ donation? Test your knowledge with this helpful infographic!
Infographic images courtesy of PonyParts.com