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Sofia's Story

"I was happy to know my organs might help some stranger’s life one day but to help my own mother, was extra special to me."
When I registered as an organ donor in my early 20s, I never thought I would be donating a kidney to my mother. But when the doctors diagnosed her with kidney failure and informed her, she needed a transplant; I immediately took all the tests needed to be approved as her kidney donor. I was inspired by my biggest role model, my uncle, who 30 years ago, donated one of his kidneys to his cousin. His selfless and brave act is what made me register as an organ donor in the first place many years ago and volunteer to raise awareness about the importance of organ donation. I was happy to know my organs might help some stranger’s life one day but to help my own mother was extra special to me.

When my mother got her diagnosis, she was utterly depressed and had no hope, as cultural taboos prevented her extended family from coming forward to donate their kidney to her. Speaking to her on the phone, I reassured her and told her not to worry, I would do it. But because I was pregnant with my second child at the time, I had to wait until I recovered from childbirth to be able to donate my kidney. Some family and friends concerned about my well-being urged me to re-think my decision. I consulted with many doctors and as I was healthy and fit for donation, I saw no reason why I shouldn’t do it. My husband, who’s an anesthesiologist, reassured me as well and told me what I was doing was a noble and generous act.

After the transplant, I witnessed first-hand the changes in my mother’s quality of life. Not only did she gain back her positive view on life, she was also able to eat and enjoy her favorite meals again. She had forgotten what lamb curry tasted like and how delicious it was. I felt overwhelmed with happiness knowing that my sacrifice has not only saved her life but made it much better as well.

Because of my experience, I know how grueling kidney disease can be on patients and their families. That’s why I’m proud to be part of the volunteering community of The Kidney Foundation, Atlantic Branch to help raise awareness and funds to better the lives of the patients. My work didn’t end when I donated a kidney to my mother, I want to continue making a difference in this world even if it’s by changing a very small percentage of people’s view on organ donation and inspiring them to register as donors.