Transplant Team of Connecticut

My life was saved not once but twice by organ donors

By  Kari August 

My life was saved not once but twice by organ donors, the first time through a kidney donation from my brother. Diagnosed at age nine with Type 1 diabetes, I suffered complications throughout my life. But when I was pregnant with my first daughter, they became more serious -- my kidneys were not functioning properly.  My condition seemed fine after the birth and during a second pregnancy. Following the birth of My second daughter, however, my diabetes doctor referred me to a nephrologist whose testing showed I had less than 10 percent of my kidney function left. I was put on a restricted diet and underwent six months of peritoneal dialysis.

 

I was told I was a candidate for kidney and pancreas transplants but I had a lot of testing to do first, Both my brother and sister were tested for the kidney transplant and fortunately, my brother was found to be a match. The surgery was successful but two days after surgery, I had a heart attack and had three stents put in my heart a few days later.

 

Because of my heart attack I was taken off the list for a pancreas until my heart was healthy again.When I started the testing process for the transplant things didn’t work out at the first two hospitals I went to. I met with success at Yale-New Haven Hospital, where I was given an insulin pump, with testing completed and put on the list, a new waiting period began.

 

With the pancreas transplant I had to wait for a call when a person younger than 25 had died and was a match, I waited four years and six months. I was called in two times first I was sick and unable to undergo the surgery and the other time the organ was not healthy enough. However the third call was the charm.

 

The surgery, conducted in October 2008, went well and recovery time was quicker than My medical team thought it would be.

 

I have been very healthy and I have competed in The Transplant Games of America, It is a wonderful group of people, transplant recipients, living donors and donor families all together as one big family.”

 

The games are Olympic-style events and are held every two years. The competitions are open to anyone who has had a life-saving organ, eye, or bone marrow transplant or is a living donor. Athletes compete by state for medals.

 

The mission of the state teams and the games is to honor organ and tissue donors, living donors, and donor families by showcasing the health and wellness experienced by transplant recipients, to educate people about organ and tissue donation, and empower them to make the decision to give the gift of life.  

 

I am here today because of the generosity of organ donors. Please help us support their goal and save lives

 

Visit www.ttoct.org to find out more about the Transplant Team of Connecticut or to make a donation

 

Kari August