By all counts, my life up until I was 12 years old was ultra typical; friends, little league baseball, soccer, street hockey, art, hide and go seek, tag. Then there was the doctor’s appointment that changed the course of my life, those around me and even people I have not yet met.
It was an annual checkup. I expected Dr. Varma to hit my knee with a hammer, pee in a cup and I would be on my way to my soccer game. But things became strange when he asked me for a second sample. The next thing I knew I was in Children’s hospital. There was blood and protein in my urine. Blood work revealed sky high Creatinine levels with enough potassium to stop my heart. I was 12 years old; I was extraordinarily ordinary and now I need the extraordinary…a kidney transplant!
I became the luckiest boy on the planet. I got the transplant I needed to survive. As I got older it sunk in that a man died and donated his organ to me and this reality could not stand in vain. I had to help other people; I had a debt to pay back. I decided that my purpose was to help shorten the line for those in need of life saving organs. I needed to make the supply bigger and demand less. I decided that the most effective way to reach this end was to show others that transplantation works and I was to be the living example. Here are some of the actions I have taken:
- US Transplant Games: I have participated in the past two US Transplant Games. These games put me on a national stage and demonstrated visually that transplantation works. I won a Bronze and two gold medals in swimming and 3 gold medals in track and field.
- Kidney Walk: Each year my family and I raise money and walk with the National Kidney Foundation. Over the past two years, we raised more than $5,000 for my walk team “Adam’s Creatinine Crushers”. This money goes to educate and make early renal diagnosis.
- I am a significant contributor on my High School Track team. I have won points in Hurtles, sprinting and High Jump. When people see my accomplishments in track and then find out that I had a transplant, many are impressed.
- October 16th 2011 was my 5th anniversary with my new Kidney. We had a big celebration at a local Roller rink. UNYTS was there and took donations for others in need and getting those in attendance to sign their donor card.
- Worked hard in school making the Honor Roll even though there were stretches of time I had to spend in the Hospital because of various road bumps along the way. I never made excuses.
- Today, I am President of the Lancaster High School Donate Life club that UNYTS runs. My duties are to raise awareness at my school, organize activities, recruit new members into the club, hold meetings, execute community projects and work close with my teacher advisor. Currently, we are decorating a Christmas tree that we will donate to a needy family. We are also working with the underclassmen where we are testing their Donate Life knowledge. Over the course of the year we will be playing games to help them better understand our cause and then at the end of the year we will re-test them to demonstrate all that they learned from our games.
I want to continue showing people that transplantation works. I want to go to College, get a job and become a contributor to society. This successful demonstration means that more people sign their donor cards and more people become educated so as to never need a transplant.
One man died…I lived. His gift will not be forgotten yet so many others need help. I am obligated to be the person who helps those in need. I am the person who encourages those who are afraid because they might need a transplant. I am the one who is a living reminder that transplantation works. By virtue of all this, I made the transition from extraordinarily ordinary to extraordinary. I am pleased and proud to show the world that transplantation works.
Extraordinarily Ordinary to Extraordinary - Adam's Story (Kidney Recipient) has been provided by UNYTS, Buffalo, NY.