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Preshus- Recipient family member

Preshus and her sister Ashley

My question to everyone has always been, “why not be a donor?” For as long as I can remember I’ve always said that if I’m a match I would donate and that if I were to die, please make sure that everything is donated because that would mean I’ve helped someone.

As an older sister, I have always been protective of my sister Ashley and when she was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes I can remember becoming more protective of her. We had to learn how to administer a blood test and practice giving shots to an orange in order to be able to do this for her. Watching her go through daily blood sugar testing and administering shots to her having vision loss and enduring surgeries to repair it. She is a strong individual and one that always pushes forward with a smile on her face that is magnetic to everyone around her.

When she was diagnosed in 2013 with Chronic Kidney Disease, our family was faced with another trial to hurdle and that we did. Ashley had to change her way of life by watching her fluid intake and what she ate even more now than before. She had more visits with Specialists to keep an eye on her levels to make sure her kidneys were still functioning where they should be. Then, the day came in May 2017 that she would begin dialysis, having to hook up to a machine each night for 7 hours. Being tied down and not being able to travel with family and friends was something new.

She went through all the steps and precautions and was placed on the transplant list for a kidney and our family immediately jumped into action by contacting the Transplant Center to see if any of us would be a match. However, her transplant team wanted to place her on the list for not only a kidney but a pancreas too. Even though we were excited about this, we were also scared because we knew the next step while waiting was dialysis. We also knew that in order for her to gain a new pancreas was for someone and their family to suffer a loss. This was something my family discussed and I explained to them that it was a Catch 22 because in order for one family to celebrate another must lose a loved one and that can never be easy. I also said that as a living donor that I did not sign up on a whim and fully understood that if something were to happen to me that everything possible would be tried in order to save me and that if I was beyond saving that at least I would save other lives and to me that is why I signed up.

Jennifer, Preshus, Ashley

My sister Ashley began dialysis in May of 2017 and on January 21, 2018 she received the call that would change her life. On January 22, 2018 she received a double transplant with a kidney and pancreas and since has not taken any day for granted, none of us have. Our family has rallied with her on making sure every step of healing and recovery are successful and it has been. We are forever grateful to her donor and their family for making this decision to help others in their time of loss. They are true angels and lifesavers in our eyes and hearts.

I would like for the public to know more about donation and to be educated on what the process is, how transplantation occurs, and what happens after. Sharing recipient and donor stories and letting others make connections to help spread the word and break the stigma. It is extremely important for everyone that chooses to join the Kentucky Organ Donor Registry because there aren’t enough donors now and everyone that joins is that one person closer to being that match for someone waiting.