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Robyn's Story

Robyn never would have imagined a simple Instagram scroll could end up changing multiple lives.
Who knew that a simple scroll through social media could lead to life-altering decisions not only in my life, but in the lives of four individuals? While my kidney journey began with an Instagram post, my donation history began much earlier than that. I had been donating blood and plasma for over two decades before I became a kidney donor.

I have always been a caretaker in nature, whether it’s through working as an Educational Resource Worker for children with special needs or being the mother of two sons with special needs. I’ve always done what I can to help others. My first blood donation was after one of my sons needed a blood transfusion at just two months old. This inspired me to become a regular blood and plasma donor.

While scrolling through Instagram one day, I came across the Canadian Blood Services’ Instagram account and saw a woman holding an illustration of two kidneys, celebrating the anniversary of her kidney transplant. This post resonated with me and inspired me to look more into kidney donation. I was curious to learn that we can live healthy lives with just one kidney. I then gathered more information to learn about the process. While I was not too keen on the scars from the surgery initially, I gathered the resilience to look past the scars and into the lives that this could help change.

I shared my intention to be a kidney donor with my friend Olivia. Olivia then shared that her colleague was in desperate need of a kidney. I was then introduced to Aurelius. Sadly, we both realized that we were not compatible blood types. But our story did not end there, I soon found out that there was another way for me to help Aurelius in his kidney journey.

The Kidney Paired Donation Program (KPD) can provide those needing a kidney transplant with additional opportunities to find a match. This program connects incompatible donor-recipient pairs with others in the same situation who are a match. This expands the donor pool and the chances at a life-changing surgery. The Kidney Exchange program provided the opportunity to not just change the life of Aurelius, but also the life of the person who received my kidney through this exchange.

I was informed that Aurelius received his kidney the day before I was scheduled to donate mine. To me, it felt like that person was passing me the baton, urging me to finish the race. I then underwent surgery for my kidney to be removed and sent on a plane to save another life. While I may never meet the person who received my kidney being an indirect donor, I know that my decision has at least made an improvement to Aurelius’ life. And for me, that is enough.

I am now back on my feet and continue to promote organ donation to the public and advocate for additional funding and attention for organ donors to the Government of Canada.
If there is one thing you can take away from my story, let it be that: “You're stronger than you think and braver than you realize.”