I have had the honor and privilege to proudly serve my country in the United States Army for 15 years. While I was in the Army I was diagnosed with Systemic Lupus Erythematosus. Even after my diagnosis, I still continued to serve until 2003. Well, after having Lupus for more than two decades, my kidneys are now suffering.
Although I am experiencing Stage IV Kidney Disease, I am very close to entering what is called End Stage Kidney Disease. In order to extend my survival at the end stage, I must be connected to a dialysis machine for three to four hours, three times per week, but this will NOT keep me alive.
My health will continually decline and dialysis will not be enough for me to survive.
Today, there are more than 114,000 people on the organ transplant waitlist, with nearly 95,000 waiting for a kidney. The average wait time on transplant waitlists is five years, and while some people on the list will receive a kidney from a deceased donor the vast majority will not.
Finding a living organ donor is my best option for having a second chance at life. I have learned that a person can live a full and healthy life with only one kidney. Not only does a living kidney donation involve minimal risk to the donor (less than 1% long-term complication risk) it also increases the quality of life of the recipient and has a greater health outcome expectancy than a kidney from deceased donor.
If you’re interested in learning more about living donation, a great resource is the American Transplant Foundation’s “Living Donation Guide” on the website (AmericanTransplantFoundation.org). Here you can review statistics surrounding donation, learn more about the process, and read the stories of others who have given the Gift of Life.
Yes, I do welcome your donation if it is in your heart and health capacity to give. But this letter is more than that. It is a request for you to understand my story and help spread the word about how living donation can save my life and the lives of many others. I am a wife, an active member of the United States Coast Guard Auxiliary, and a bonus mom to two daughters. I live an active life in my community in the great state of Maine, and I still have so much more living to do!
Please feel free to share my story with as many people as you’d like.
If you or someone you know, think you’re ready to donate, please contact:
(202) 390-2474, Mrs. Vilda Brown, Organ Transplant Services, RN Coordinator
You may also reach out to my dear friend and Donor Champion, Mrs. Deborah Holder at (909) 496-4173 or email her at SaveaSoldierToday@gmail.com
Thank you for taking the time to read my story.
Kimberly Ann Morgan
SGT, U.S. Army, Retired