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Maral’s Story

I wish I’d had someone my age who could tell me: you’re going to get through this.
At fourteen-years-old, Maral first learned of kidney disease. Three years later she received a transplant from her mother. Even with the transplant, living as a teenager with kidney disease left Maral feeling alone. All her classmates looked healthy and Maral felt she would never have a normal life because of her illness.  

“When I was diagnosed, I was quite scared,” shares Maral. “When you first hear about kidney disease…you feel lost and you don’t know what is going to happen to you. After the transplant, I felt I took something away from my mom and I went through depression.” 

Even after her surgery, most of her friends weren’t aware of her illness. “The only reason some of them knew was because I looked different because I was on lots of prednisone, so I started to get that infamous moon face and my friends started to ask questions. They didn’t know what it meant to go through transplant and that was tough.” 

As Maral transitioned from high school to university, her transplant failed. She began peritoneal dialysis. Struggling with her new body image, guilt over her failed transplant, and life on dialysis, she again found few people in her life she could talk with about her experiences. With time, and meditation, Maral learned to cope and take care of herself in both mind and body. She also began to volunteer. 
“There are always moments of doubt and uncertainty, times that you feel lonely or sorry for yourself. At times like that, it is good to have someone who knows what it’s like to talk to and that is where the Kidney Foundation’s peer support comes in, as a trusting friend by your side. I volunteer with peer support because I want to help others who are going through the same things and to tell them that kidney disease isn’t the end.”  

Maral volunteers through the Kidney Foundation’s online youth and young adult peer support groups. As a young adult, she hopes to connect with others about transitioning from pediatric care to the hospital, about navigating transplant, and, about the emotional side of kidney disease.   

“If I had peer support when I was a teenager, I would have asked so many questions about transplant because although doctors and nurses would tell me things, they were older, and I didn’t know them. I wish I’d had someone my age who could tell me: you’re going to get through this.” 

Maral received the gift of life from her younger brother in 2018. She is an avid volunteer withthe Kidney Foundation and is in her last year of university studying to be a social worker. By becoming a social worker, Maral hopes to give back. She encourages youth or young adults to join the online Kidney Connect peer support groups to share their experiences and ask questions.