Given A Journey To Inspire

Written by Terri Willis, Liver Transplant Recipient.

I was born and diagnosed at the age of two with Tyrosinemia, a very rare metabolic disease. This is where the liver doesn't have the proper enzymes it needs to break down protein. I was diagnosed at Scottish Rite Children's Hospital but the doctor didn't know how to treat me so I was sent to Egleston Children's Hospital. I was the second person in the United States to be diagnosed with this disease. I had to be on a special diet and could not eat anything with protein and tyrosine (one of the amino acids that the body uses to break down proteins) in it. I had to drink a formula and was on several other medications. I was in-and-out of the hospital a lot because of several complications. My blood pressure would go sky high or I would get severe nose bleeds that could not be stopped on their own.

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A Mother's Sacrifice Saves Daughter's Life

Written by Hilary Weidner, Liver Donor.

When Bea was a little baby she had Jaundice. Then her 2 month appointment with the pediatrician rolled around, I came prepared with a list of questions. One of the questions was to ask about the whites of her eyes and how they looked a little yellow.

Since Bea was my first child, I wasn't sure if this was normal for babies with Jaundice. My gut urged me to bring it up to the doctor. Once we did, she agreed that it was something to look into further and she sent us to have Bea get blood test. That night, she called with the results and said to go immediately to Cincinnati Children's Hospital, and that they were expecting us.

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Living Life To The Fullest

Written by Rhonda Powers, Kidney Transplant Recipient

I received my gift of life 12 years ago thanks to my living donor and my sister, Diana.

I should probably start with my journey to receiving a transplant. I was born with a birth defect and one of my kidneys was literally falling apart and barely functioning. I was a very sick kid; in and out of the hospital until at the age of nine. That was when one of my doctors decided I needed the kidney removed. From what I was told, the surgery I needed was so new in the state of Oklahoma that I had to travel to a hospital in Lawton and they filmed my surgery to teach medical students. It was in February of 1970.

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My Journey to the Rose Parade: An Experience of a Lifetime

Written by Lisa Barker, Liver Transplant Recipient      

When I woke up on Friday, February 7, 2014 I never imagined the plans God had in store for my future after my life saving liver transplant. I found myself resonating with this quote since my transplant. “If you saw the size of the blessing coming, you would understand the magnitude of the battle you are fighting.”

        When my battle first started, I do not think I can honestly say I understood the way God was working in my life. I knew he had a plan but it was a lot to comprehend. I had unexpected months of rehab and was emotionally struggling with all that comes with being a new transplant recipient.

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Living a Joyous Journey

Written by Nicole Brewer, Double-lung Transplant Recipient

I received a second chance at life on April 17, 2008, when I received a new pair of lungs. My story is a little ironic;  I was a collegiate soccer player who loved to continuously run up and down the soccer field, but life had a different plan for me, and it continues to be a journey of joyous unknowns. 

Like many transplant recipients, my husband and I have been on quite a journey! I’ll give a short synopsis of my disease and what led to having a double lung transplant and this second chance at life. But the thing is, this journey is not over. There are many unknowns. But there is an abundance of life and love.

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A Christmas Miracle: Receiving "The Call"

Written by Nicole Romine, Liver Transplant Recipient

I had been a healthy person for my entire 26 years of life. A few months after Aaron, my first child, was born in 2014, I began to notice I wasn’t quite myself. My stomach was constantly upset and I couldn’t get through a day without feeling queasy. My eyes and skin turned yellow. I was worried, but I had no idea then that I was beginning a journey that would completely change my life. Over the course of a few weeks, I went to doctors and specialists and had so many tests run that I lost count. Day by day my health continued to decline, and just ten days before Christmas I was admitted into the ER.

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Shedding Light Upon Fear and Uncertainty: A Transplanted Life

Written by Noah Swanson, a Liver Transplant Recipient

It was several years before I realized where the shadow was coming from. Until then, I feared a strange man with a large nose lurked somewhere in my basement waiting to jump out from around the corner. I still remember the dread I experienced every time I walked down the stairs that led to the basement in the house I grew up. The way the light came through the window caused a peculiar shadow to be displayed against the wall.  

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How One Minute Changed My Life - How I Became a Registered Organ Donor

Written by Hailey Derby, Taylor's Gift Intern

My name is Hailey Derby and I am a 22-year-old senior at the University of North Texas. I’m a normal college student trying to finish school, in that phase of realizing that life as I know it will change very soon. Being an adult is in the very near future. Between a full class load and working full time, it is hard to find time for much else, whether that is trying to maintain a normal social life or finding time to get involved in my community. Thankfully, one of my courses has made it easier to become involved in my community. For my public relations course, we were given the assignment to work with a non-profit organization all semester. Thus began my involvement with Taylor’s Gift Foundation.

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Giving Donor Families Hope, Giving Donor Families Help

Written by Noe Narro, Family Services Coordinator at Southwest Transplant Alliance

As a Family Service Coordinator for Southwest Transplant Alliance (STA), I am extremely thankful for Taylor’s Gift Foundation and the unique service they provide to our donor families through their Legacy Gift program. Each donor family I encounter means the world to me. We create a lasting bond as I assist them through a difficult time in their life, the loss of a loved one.  

During the time of a donor family’s grief, I determine what each family might need. Do they need additional grief support? Someone to just be beside them and listen? Do they have a place to stay while out of town or are they struggling to pay for unexpected expenses? My job is to be there for our families to help and guide them during their time of grief.

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Sometimes You Just Know When You Want to be a Living Kidney Donor

Written by Helen Brennan, Living Kidney Donor

When my sister told me that my brother-in-law needed a kidney transplant, I knew I wanted to be tested to be his living donor. I had always liked the idea of organ donation and had registered as a bone marrow donor years before. Plus, I’ve known Andy since high school and consider him a friend as well as family.

When we found out we were the same blood type, I was ready to begin my screening. Andy lives in Houston, so my testing and surgery was done there. I went to Houston to begin the daylong series of tests to ensure not only that I was a match, but also that I was healthy enough to undergo surgery and live with one kidney. I also met with my surgeon, an organ donor advocate, and a social worker.

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