About Me

I'd like to share a little about my experience facing this life-threatening disease. Hearing the diagnosis stopped me in my tracks. Since then, I have experienced some depression, confusion, and loss of meaning in my life. As I shared my struggle about being faced with this kidney disease with the people closest to me in my life it resulted in an enormous and loving return of support from them that I had not quite expected. In fact one of my longest friends of some fifty years, Patti Murphy, immediately stepped up and said she would help me search for a donated kidney. As I mentioned it to some other very dear friends - Shealy Thompson, Maggie Powell, Stacy Kiser, and Adele Frances - they also spontaneously offered to help with my search. My heart burst open at their amazing gifts of love and support they gave to me. Their love and support helped me recover my strength and resilience to step up to the enormous challenges of this disease. I then also reached out to the Polysystic Kidney Foundation's mentoring program (contact information is on the Other Resources page) and asked for a mentor. I am so fortunate to have been assigned as my mentor, Risa Simon, who is a kidney transplant recipient of over ten years and who has become a compassionate and formidable advocate for kidney patients and donations nationwide. She has even created a nonprofit organization with the mission "to empower the nation’s kidney patient population by inspiring them to proactively fight for a better quality of life." The life Risa now lives! Her organization is the Transplant First Academy ( contact information on the Other Resources page). Due to the love and support that I am receiving, I also intend to extend my support to other kidney patients as well. Why? Because I WILL BE SUCCESSFUL in my mission and able to advocate for other kidney patients.

 

Like many of us, I have had to overcome some exceedingly difficult challenges throughout my life, some of the most formidable happening when during my mid-thirties when my life literally fell apart. I had constructed an apparently “successful” life according to societal norms, but for me it proved inauthentic and impossible to maintain. That falling apart experience, which I call my “mid-life awakening,” projected me on a course of discovering my true self and vocation. I left my then career as a contract negotiator with the US Department of Energy. I went back to school and obtained a second bachelor’s degree, my first degree was in Business Administration, in adult fitness and exercise science, followed by a master’s degree in clinical psychology. For the next thirty years, I worked as a psychotherapist and administrator in community mental health, and was profoundly happy on this path.

 

My passion was, and is, working with, supporting, and advocating for the health and well-being of others. Now I need to advocate for myself as well. My kidney disease is launching part three of my life journey: to become a fierce advocate for all of us who need a kidney transplant. This is the meaning I have derived from being faced with this life-threatening disease. I will be able to accomplish this because I know I WILL find a kidney from a living donor which will extend my life, and which will then allow me to support others in their quest for a donated kidney