My name is Anne Bina and I am here to tell you the story of my miracle, my gift of life. It all started with the story of my kidney transplant on October 15, 1999.
My story is a little different than most. While many are due to diabetes or high blood pressure, my kidney failure was due to strep throat when I was 9 years old. About 2-3 months later, I ended up in the hospital with nephritis, basically an inflammation of the kidneys.
Some 30 years later, I was diagnosed with kidney failure with a condition called Focal Segmental Glomerulosclerosis or commonly called FSGS – all related back to my case of strep. Over time, FSGS can cause kidney failure and in my case led to needing a kidney transplant. I was placed on the UNOS transplant waiting list in 1998. I was very sick at this point, lethargic and sleeping most of the day. I was unable to really participate in my life.
My Miracle Transplant
By August of 1999, my kidney function had gotten to the point that it was time to start dialysis. For me at least, I was only on dialysis for less than 2 months when a coordinator from U of Wisconsin called me stating that they had a kidney for me. It was October 15, 1999. I will never forget that date. She told me that my donor was a 16 year old boy that had been involved in a car accident. My heart was hurting for his family. Later, I received a picture of “Ryan” my donor, from his family. He is indeed my Hero!
22+ Years later – Life is good!
For the last twenty years, I have been giving back every day in honor of Ryan’s gift of life by being a volunteer and public speaker, first in Wisconsin and now here in Wyoming with Donor Alliance. I have also become active with the National Kidney Foundation (NKF).
Besides being an Ambassador with their on-line site, HealthUnlocked, a NKF Peer Mentor, and having weekly conversations with others waiting for a transplant, I have also become a Kidney Advocate.
I have been working on talking with local legislators about living donation, kidney disease education and access to home dialysis. Friends and family members that become living donors suffer from discrimination when applying for Life, Disability and Long-term Care insurance. Many are also in danger of losing their jobs due to not being covered by FMLA. It is so important for the public to learn about Federal Living Donor Protection Act legislation options.
There are over 37 million people in the United States that have been diagnosed with a Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD). Did you know that nearly 90% of patients with kidney diseases do not know they have them? Roughly 750,000 Americans have kidney failure and will eventually rely on dialysis or a transplant to survive! These are some really scary statistics!
What can You do to make a difference?
What you can do right now to make a difference is help to pass the LDPA legislation to protect living donors. Then, every day normal people like you reading this article can register your decision to be an organ, eye and tissue donor. That will make a difference!
Say Yes by clicking the orange ‘Become A Donor’ button in top right corner of this post. Your Yes is powerful and means that you can be a hero to someone else, just like Ryan was my hero and saved my life.