I am reaching out to you all with the hope that you can help me share this news far and wide. I am 63 years old, have been married for 42 years, have 4 adult children and 7 grandchildren, and we all live in Maryland. After many years battling Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD) and declining to Stage 5 CKD in June 2020, my decline continued, and I lost kidney function in August 2022 thus declining to End Stage Renal Disease (ESRD) and needing to start dialysis immediately IN ORDER TO STAY ALIVE. Regular dialysis can help keep me alive, but long-term dialysis will be hard on my body and other organs, and I'm realizing that frightening reality. From my Nephrologist and other sources, I’ve learned that I need a kidney transplant and that a LIVING DONOR is my best chance for survival, because the average wait time is 5 years or more for a kidney from a deceased donor.
As I sit in the chair during dialysis treatments 3 days per week, up to 4 hours per session, I tend to replay my life and how rewarding it has been to have had opportunity to pour into the lives of others, be it as a mom/grandma and wife forever, or decades of service to the deaf and hard of hearing community before retiring from Gallaudet University, or being an ear and responding voice of encouragement to anyone encountering a tough moment. These are opportunities that gave me favor to carry out those services and see the outcomes I was contributing to and is now being played out again in a transformative manner where service I can muster up towards my self-care can achieve an outcome of longevity of my life.
Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD) has changed my life in numerous ways that greatly limit what I can do and causes other health challenges. I want to be healthy again! I want to enjoy being active again with my family and friends. I look forward to the day that I’m not tired, unwell and can live my life to the fullest.
On 'good' days, I can sometimes pursue some of the activities I cherish most, to include 1) serving as a facilitator for a developmental program at my church (it greatly helps that I can do this virtually), and 2) numerous hobbies where I curate designs and put them on cards, shoes and shirts.
A kidney transplant could give me a longer, healthier, more normal life – and more time with the people I love and resuming contributions in areas I'm passionate about. I am confident that with a life of merging humility & compassion and learning about hardships & skilled resources to mitigate them, it is not intended to have these gifts held hostage by this awful ailment; so I am confident that I will be able to loose this temporary hold and again glean from the favor I've received and pay it forward to bless others.
MY SELF-AWARENESS AND SELF-ENCOURAGEMENT...
> YES, kidney failure has me in its grip!
> YES, kidney failure sometimes pins me down!
BUT I WILL CONTINUE TO FIGHT THE GOOD FIGHT!
For anyone willing to consider being my living donor, they can contact my transplant coordinator to learn more about the kidney donation process. Communication with my transplant coordinator can be totally confidential if so desired.
Contact information: Johns Hopkins Comprehensive Transplant Center
When calling give my name (Ella Anita Gilbert) and date of birth (March 1960)
My insurance will cover the cost of a donor’s evaluation and surgery. My transplant coordinator can provide information about this if you would like to learn more.
For general information about living donation please visit:
Please LIKE and SHARE this post on your page, then many more people can hear my story.
Thank you my friends!
If you are considering being a living donor please use links below to contact Ella Gilbert's Transplant Center. Begin by completing the donor questionnaire
There are currently 120,000 people waiting for a lifesaving organ transplant in the U.S. Of these, 100,000 await kidney transplants.
The median wait time for a kidney transplant is 3-5 years and can vary depending on health, compatibility, and where you live.
In 2014, 17,107 kidney transplants took place in the U.S. Of these, 11,570 came from deceased donors and 5,537 came from living donors.
Every 14 minutes someone is added to the kidney transplant waitlist.
A kidney from a living donor lasts longer and begins functioning more quickly than a kidney from a deceased donor.
In 1995, kidney donation became minimally invasive with a procedure called laparoscopic nephrectomy, which only requires four small incisions. Hospital stay is typically only 3 days after this operation.
Not blood type compatible with your recipient to be a living donor? Kidney Paired Donation (the “kidney swap” program) enables incompatible candidates with a living donor to receive a kidney from a compatible donor.
Last year, over 700 living donor kidney transplants occurred using Kidney Paired Donation.
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