Dear Donor Family,
As the season of giving and receiving is upon us, I want to at last thank your family for making my life so much better through the gift of a kidney. I know how difficult a decision you made in order for me to experience a more normal life.
I want to address why it has taken so long to write this letter. First is the sense of guilt in receiving such an amazing gift at the same time you suffered such a tremendous loss. Much time has been spent trying to figure the right time to write. There just never seemed to be a good time, so I kept putting off writing, despite the fact that I think of your loved one every day. Putting off writing isn’t even accurate, as I’ve started this letter many, many times and the words always felt inadequate to express the gratitude I feel. The word s still feel inadequate. Alas, way too much time has passed and the expression of my appreciation for the miraculous gift I received is way overdue. I hope you will forgive me.
My name is Sharon, I am in my late 60s now and live in the San Francisco Bay Area. I am married, have two adult children and four grandchildren, three boys 20, 12, & 10, and a granddaughter age 15. They are the light of my life. When I was on home dialysis, they used to help me get ready for my treatments, play in the same room as my treatments and kept me company.
I am the third member of my immediate family to suffer from kidney failure. My father was among the first of the kidney patients to do home hemodialysis. My brother received a kidney transplant at UCSF too. Unfortunately, they both passed on due to kidney disease complications. I thought I’d missed the kidney failure issue since I was well past the age my of fa ther and brother when they lost kidney function. However, kidney failure caught up with me too.
As I mentioned above, there is not one day that goes by that I don’t think of your loved one. He is part of my life, he shares in my joys and sorrows. He travels with me, right now we are in Italy visiting my daughter and family. Hopefully, in February we will go to Mexico where we only drink bottled water. We quilt, embroider, read, travel, listen to audiobooks, play with grandchildren, and live a pretty normal life. He is never taken for granted and I do everything possible to keep our kidney functioning perfectly. We have one of the best functioning kidneys in the UCSF transplant program. We are extremely compatible, a perfect match.
Losing a loved one is never easy. I can only hope you find comfort in the knowledge your family member gave me a 14,000,000 to 1 win, the odds of receiving a perfect kidney match. A gift that is appreciated everyday by me and my family.
With great respect and gratitude,