A kidney donor has been approved

Artwork: Joseph Alessio

Last Thursday, a potential donor notified me the donor coordinator called and said she was approved to donate a kidney. Later that day, I received "the call" from the transplantation center with confirmation — I have a match!!

My donor is O+ and based in California. After searching for 2.5 years and failing with dozens of possible candidates, this is the first time a candidate has reached the diagnostics stage and passed.

When I applied to join the kidney transplant program a few years back, one of the requirements was a designated caretaker for the first month after surgery. I chose my dad and brought him to all my kidney appointments so we could learn about the process together.

Many of you read about my story about Dad helping me through dialysis:

Three times a week, my father hoisted me into a wheelchair and escorted me to a cold, dreary hemodialysis unit in the hospital's basement. There I would endure a grueling 4-hour dialysis session while he sat and waited for me.

That love is one of the best and most beautiful things I’ve ever experienced, despite the circumstances.

I was accepted into the transplant program, but sadly, Dad suddenly passed away a few weeks ago and can no longer fulfill the role of caretaker. I'm so sad I can't share this incredible milestone with him, but I know he lives on within me. I will call upon his enormous strength of character to get me through the surgery and recovery ahead.

My next step will be to re-locate my mom from Taiwan to to the United States so she can fulfill the caretaker role. Then we can move forward with scheduling. As of now, I think the surgery will happen in late December or early January.

It's not quite a done deal — until we see how the kidney is performing, it's hard to know what may be in store for the future. But I'm very grateful for this gift of life, and to you, the community who helped me find it.

To quote myself in hospital on May 18, 2019: I’m here, I’m surviving, and I’m ready to accept any outcome. Let's do this!