Mother's Day: A life-changing story

Mother's Day: A life-changing story

Mother's Day: A life-changing story

In April 2020, at the height of the pandemic, Christy donated a kidney to her daughter Courtney. We wanted to share Christy's story on Mother's Day to help break misconceptions people may have when donating organs, and to show that you can live a very active life after donating. Here are some of the questions we asked Christy...

How long did it take you to get back on your feet after the operation and then how long until you were able to start running again?

I was told to wait 4-6 weeks before vigorous activity, like running or lifting weights. There is a high chance of hernia occurrence when people push too much too soon. I personally started walk the day after surgery, in VERY small amounts. We would go out multiple times per day for about 10 minutes. After one week, I started walking further. After 3 weeks, hiking again. I attempted to run at 4 weeks and immediately knew that I was not ready for that. I waited until 6 weeks, and was able to run again. I could tell that I was more fatigued than usual, and my pace was slower, but I was happy to be running again. I was able to start lifting weights at 6 weeks as well, but took it slowly.

What were the main challenges getting back into your training and is there any advice you would give to people who are going through a similar experience?

The main challenge that I had for the entire first year after donation was the fatigue. My body required much more sleep than usual and I just didn't have my normal energy.

Are there any misconceptions people might have about donating an organ?

I think that people think that if they donate an organ that their own quality of life will be lessened. That is the opposite of the truth. Not only will it enrich your life in so many fulfilling ways, you can still continue to do all of your normal activities once you've healed.

What message would you like to share with others about the importance of organ donation?

Organ donation is incredibly rewarding. Can you imagine being able to save someone's life? It's life changing and wonderful and the need is huge! There are over 100,000 people on the waiting list for a kidney, and the wait is an average of 3-5 years long!

What advice would you give to someone who is considering becoming a living kidney donor?

If you are considering being a living donor, I recommend reaching out to an organisation like the National Kidney Foundation, or your local transplant office. You don't have to know the person that is in need. You can donate to a total stranger that is in need.

What was the most surprising thing you learned about kidney donation during the process?

I was amazed at how many things the kidney affects in the body! Donating can completely change someone's life by allowing them to live a "normal" life again. It also made me even more appreciative of being healthy. Who knew that taking good care of your own body could help you save someone's life?!

What impact has the donation had on your life, both positive and negative?

I have only had positive impacts from donating. It made me feel like I had purpose and that I had made a difference.

How is your training going for the 100 mile foot race in Montana?

My 100 mile training is going well. I am just starting to really bump my training into high gear, working on more mileage, along with lots of climbing out on the trails.

After the 100 mile race in Montana is there anything else you will be working towards?

After the 100 miler, I will allow a little recovery time, then just want to continue to get stronger and try to gain some speed back. I am turning 50 soon and want to take my new age group on with more speed than ever!

How or has your relationship with your daughter changed at all since giving her your kidney?

My daughter and I have always had a close relationship, but this made it even better. I would do this for her all over again if I could.

Is there anything Courtney would like to say about the whole experience?

Courtney is now 28 years old, she was 25 at the time. We are celebrating the 3 year anniversary of the transplant in April of this year. I know that she would say that it changed her life as well. She is back to being active again and is back in college. I know she's happy to be living a more "normal" life with more energy.