Sunday, January 28, 2007

Kidney Donation

Myself and Laurie about 3 months after surgery
Laurie's daughter Sophia and my daughter Anna in Daytona Beach April 2006
7 months before our surgery

Myself and Laurie after surgery.
I am going home...

I have debated for along time whether or not I wanted to share my story with those 'outside' of my little circle. I truly feel the need to share 'our' story and spread awareness to living organ donation. This is such an important topic. Such an easy surgery, with such an incredible outcome...I am afraid that if I don't share this, I will regret it. And I have learned that I can live with the regret of doing something, rather than live with the regret of not doing something...So, with that being said, here I am sitting at my desk, thinking "where do I start?"

Alot of my friends don't know alittle secret of mine...that I donated a kidney to a friend. Please let me first say, that my donation to Laurie , was not about me, nor was it about her...My donation was about our combined 7 children. Our families.

You all know my back ground. My husband, Michael and four beautiful children, Chase 13, Anna 10, Natalie 7 and Maddux, our angel in heaven. Maddux is how my family's life has forever been changed. With his birth and death, and co founding the 'Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep' organization. Up until the kidney donation, I thought that this was MY main purpose in this world. I now know that NILMDTS is Maddux's purpose, and his alone. I am only a volunteer.
Getting back to our combined children, I personally know the pain and heartache of losing a child. I can't imagine (nor would I even try to imagine) the heartache and pain of my children at the age they are now, losing their mother.

Laurie has a husband, (Mark) and three children, Kayla 14, Sophia 9, and Spencer 5. I know Laurie through our daughters cheerleading program in Denver. This past Christmas (2005) we all suspected that something was wrong with Laurie. I consider myself a pretty private person, and I was so consumed with Maddux and NILMDTS, I never thought to ask her what was wrong. We were not close friends, anyway, so I did not want to invade her privacy.

In April of 2006, our cheer team had their National Competition in Daytona Beach Florida. It was there, talking with her husband Mark that I became aware of Laurie's condition. (Laurie was unable to make the trip due to dialysis.) To this day, I still can't tell you what her condition was...All I know is that she needed a kidney.
After talking with my close friends about Laurie, and trying to think of something we could do to help, I said, we should all be tested for Kidney donation. Everyone agreed. Nobody tested, but me. I didn't think about my decision at all. I knew what I was going to do, and I knew in my heart that I would be her match. Sounds silly, huh?I had come across the quotes below, months before when I was researching for NILMDTS. I kept coming back to these...

God doesn't require us to succeed; he only requires that you try. ~Mother Teresa

You must be the change you want to see in the world. ~Mahatma Gandhi

You must be the change, that you want to see in this world...Those words have such an impact on me. I want my children to grow up in a world where there is tolerance. Where people care about others. Not only through words, but actions as well. Our world is so hung up on 'me' Does that make sense? Please don't get me wrong, there are many caring people in this world, we just need more...It is too easy to open a check book and donate money to a cause, and think that you have made a difference. It is harder to look deep into yourself, give part of yourself (not meaning the kidney donation...but volunteering your time, your services, your heart), and know that you really HAVE made a difference. I want my children to grow up to be happy, successful adults. I want them to know that one person can make a difference in this world, whether their time in this world was only 6 days, or a lifetime. I want them to see this difference, and know that they too, can be that change.

In April, 2006 when we came back from Florida, I asked Laurie, what steps were needed to be tested for a donor. In October 2006, all tests were completed, and I passed with flying colors. Our surgery was set for November 15th, 2006. I told only a hand full of friends about my surgery. And I only told them because we would need their help with the children while I was in the hospital. My husband was not too happy with my decision, all along, but eventually gave up fighting me, and supported me (lets say 80%) with my decision. He was scared for my safety, the safety of our children (say they should need a kidney in the future) and only educated himself with negative side of kidney donation...(things that could go wrong...)

That is not how I want to live...Nor do I want my children to live that way. I don't want my children to be afraid of death, but I also don't want them to be afraid to live...I could die today, falling in the grocery store (well, not really-because I am never in one) or in a car accident -Definitely most likely (Lord knows I drive enough getting the girls to Cheer three nights a week...) And I refuse to live my life thinking that something terrible is going to happen to one of my children, and I have to 'save' my kidney for them. Life isn't perfect. Life isn't fair. My family personally knows that. We have lived through the death of one of the greatest loves in our lives, and we continue to survive, every day.

Chase, Anna, Natalie and Maddux are my greatest accomplishments in this world. I hope is that the world will see me through them...Giving my kidney to Laurie, I don't see as an accomplishment, but rather an understanding. I put myself and my family in her and her family's 'shoes.' I educated myself and my children to her condition. I visited her when she was on dialysis, I saw first hand want she was going through. I even had my kids go with me one time, so they could see what Kayla, Sophia and Spencer's mommy had to do to simply live...My son Chase, got in the car that day, and said to me, "I now know why you are doing this..." My daughter Anna said "If I had any doubts before, I don't anymore..." Natalie was just excited to see her blood pumping through the tubes...LOL!!!

I saw myself and my family through Laurie and her family. I could understand and empathize. There is no doubt in my mind that we would be praying for a miracle. For somebody, anybody to come forward and be a match and donate life to us...I was not that miracle, I was just that somebody.

Above is an image of Laurie and myself, just days after the surgery and her daughter Sophia and my daughter Anna, that year in Daytona Beach Florida. (When Laurie couldn't make it...)This is what it is all about...Then the VERY TOP image is a recent one taken showing how great Laurie looks...

And by the way, Laurie is doing incredible...And, yes, I am doing great too. And all the kids are happy. And, FYI, Laurie is going to Florida with the team this year...

I highly recommend that every person donate a kidney...(Seriously.)

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Ice Skating at Evergreen Lake

Here are some images of us girls ice skating.
It was a beautiful day. Our friends 'The Haralsons' went on a long drive to the foothills of Colorado for this event. Fun was had by all...Even us moms...

Monday, January 15, 2007


Just one day out of our many days of snow this year in Colorado...