Green Leaves

KATS

I am a living donor and this is my story.  I am a prayer intercessor at my church on Maui and received an email from an affiliate church requesting prayer for a woman named Suzy who lives in California.  Upon reading the email, I felt as though God put it on my heart to donate my kidney. So I immediately prayed about it and put my name onto Suzy’s donor list.  The entire process took about a year and a half and we went through with our transplant in April 2012.  It was a success.  Going through the process of transplantation and healing for both myself and my recipient, I felt there was a need for helping others going through the transplant process. I then brought the Oahu organization  H.O.T. to Maui.  Through this organization and help with others going through the same process- we hope to bring hope to those that will go through with transplantation.  Then about 5 years ago, our existing H.O.T Organization decided to start our own non-profit organization that was open to helping all types of organ transplants.  We formed our own 501©(3) organization called Organ Transplant Maui (O.T.M).

LIANNE

I am a kidney recipient.  I was diagnosed with Lupus in my early twenties which affected my kidneys and eyesight.  Eventually, my nephrologist told me I had to start dialysis and my whole life changed from then on.  I chose to do peritoneal dialysis (PD). As days and months passed, it seemed endless with doctor appointments, blood tests and medications.  I kept asking myself what did I do to deserve this.  Fortunately, in September 1997 I had a kidney transplant.  Now my path to recovery was a different one.  It was all worth it.  This was a new beginning for me in life.  Now it’s my turn to give something back and this is part of my new beginning.  Let our Organ Transplant Maui support team be there for you.

MICHELLE

I am a living donor and a wife of a living donor.  My husband, Ron, gave his spare kidney to his brother in 2013.  While Ron was going through the tests before the donation, I had many worries about whether his health and our life together would suffer.  After the donation was all done. I saw how easy the process was and how healthy they both were!  I started looking for someone to give my spare kidney to and heard that an old friend had recently started dialysis.  I learned that helping someone have even one day off dialysis was a treasured gift.  If I had another spare kidney, I would gladly give it away!  If you have any concerns as a potential donor or as a spouse, please do not hesitate to contact me at Organ Transplant Maui.

JAMES

I am a liver transplant recipient.  My journey began in 2003 when I was diagnosed as having the Hepatitis C virus.  I was in a bad traffic accident and had a number of blood transfusions.  Unfortunately, the blood supply at the time wasn’t tested for Hepatitis C and the virus was passed on to me.  Finally, in 2009, I was sent to UCSF Hospital in San Francisco for a transplant evaluation. On the night of October 28, the phone in my hospital room rang and it was the transplant doctor who said a liver had been found and they would operate on me that evening.  A huge wave of relief rushed through me, knowing that the helplessness and pain would soon be over.  That was over  5 years ago.  I am doing well and my life has become my own again.  There is so much a patient needs to know and a group like O.T.M. would’ve made things a lot easier for me.  If I had been able to talk with others who had been through the experience, it would’ve helped me a great deal.

RON

I’m a living donor and just want to share a little bit about myself.  My brother was on dialysis for about 6 years.  I never saw myself as a donor until I saw how his lifestyle on dialysis was.  I prayed and made a decision.  On May 10, 2013, I gave my kidney to my brother.  I never knew that giving an organ away is the best gift you can give another.  My Mission now is to support OTM (Organ Transplant Maui) by sharing my story with those who have questions about how it is to be a Living Donor.  Mahalo Nui Loa and God bless you.

LARRY

Aloha, my name is Larry and I am a kidney recipient.   I have lived with type 2 diabetes since my early thirties.  In 2016 I was diagnosed with an end-stage renal disease which put me on dialysis.  I required dialysis 3 days a week for 5-hour sessions.   There were occasions when I needed a fourth session.  This took a toll on the quality of my life and on my family.  On my scheduled dialysis days, I would work from 5:30 am to 3 pm.  I’d arrive home with just enough time to shower and get a quick bite to eat before heading to my sessions, not getting home until 9 or 9:30 at night.  Needless to say, not only was  I exhausted, but I had missed time with my family, attending events and my grandchildren’s hula performances, soccer, and baseball games.  During this time my nephrologist suggested a kidney transplant.  In December 2017 is deemed a good candidate for transplant my wife and I met with the UCSF kidney transplant team here in Maui to discuss the process.  I was informed that there was an 8 to 10-year wait for a kidney in our region.  They had suggested to us to seek a live donor.  Upon arriving home my wife put out our plea for a kidney donor on social media.  We received responses almost immediately.  My donor Sandy, a family friend posted, “you can have mine”.  Sandy proved to be a possible donor and began a string of rigorous testing and health screenings.  We were notified that she was the one! My wife and I were thrilled.  Then fear set in and the “what ifs”?  Sandy is a wife and mother of five.  What if something went wrong and she wouldn’t return home?  What if this surgery would end up in complications as all of my past surgeries had?  So I kept putting it off.  It was Sandy who is in the medical field that kept encouraging us that it was the right thing to do.  A date was set.  Then we had heard of Organ Transplant Maui and attended a couple of meetings before my transplant.  During these meetings, my wife and I met people who had undergone what I was soon to go through.  We were able to hear from donors, recipients, and caregivers who so generously shared their experiences to help with any questions and insecurities we had.  Finally, we were off to San Francisco and on October 15, 2019, Sandy and I became “Kidney Twins”.

ESTHER

My husband Nolan was a kidney recipient. Due to diabetes, his life was full of health complications which we faced from head to toe.  For over 40 years, he had survived dialysis, a kidney transplant, pneumonia, vascular leg surgery, eye surgery, amputations, a heart attack, 5 stents for artery blockage, and many more life-threatening events.  Being a caregiver to my best friend was not only to help him with his medical condition but to always be there for love, support and encouragement to live life to its fullest.  After 3 ½ years on dialysis and starting in the 300ths on the waiting list, we were blessed to have a kidney donated from a young woman who died in a car accident.  His life was full of bumps in the road because of all the complications diabetes brought.  Our family was fortunate to have him survive an extra 16 years to see all 3 of our daughters grow up, graduate from college, have successful careers and their own family and home.

All during that time, we did not have anyone to speak to about the disease, complications, medical prescriptions, financial matters, or talk to someone who had gone through what we were facing.  Nolan’s strong wish to help others in his last years made a tremendous difference in his attitude on life.  He had wanted to be there for anyone who was going through what he had faced and that he had lived to tell them it will be okay when you make informed decisions.  His hope for the future was a cure for diabetes and kidney disease and increased awareness of organ donation.  With this goal of one man, he was one of the guiding founders of the Organ Transplant Maui.  Nolan Passed away on 7/11/15 and did not live to be there at our first meeting in 2016 but his spirit will always be with us, guiding our support group…and with Nolan there beside me, I am continuing his wish and carry on his legacy to share our story to help others.

NOLAN

I am a kidney recipient.  I  became a member of the Hawaii Organ Transplant Support Group here in Maui because I felt a need to help and support people who have gone through or who are going through the process of  End State Renal Disease (ESRD).  I have been a diabetic since 1975 and was on dialysis for 4 years.  I may not be medically trained but I’ve lived through various medical procedures and operations.  I had issues with my eyes, vascular system, including amputations, and yes even a heart attack.  Educating yourself is an important part of the process.  I believe the more you know, the better your care and that you are your best advocate along with your health team.  My hopes for the future would be a cure for diabetes and kidney disease and increase the awareness of organ donations.

TODD AND TARA

Todd is a liver recipient and Tara is a living liver donor.  Back in 2014, 3 months before getting married, Todd was diagnosed with Stage 3 liver cancer which was a result of having primary sclerosing cholangitis for 25 years.  We were initially not given much hope and given a poor diagnosis.  After seeking second opinions and having a procedure with was ruled out by the oncologist team, to stop the blood supply to the tumor, Todd was approved for a live donor transplant in August of 2014.  For the next 10 months, many of our friends and family members were tested to see if they were a match and unfortunately no one was a match.  It was then time for Tara to be tested and after 2 full days of testing, it was confirmed she was a match.  On May 26, 2015, we had the surgery and it was a success.  A year and a half after the surgery we made the decision to move to Maui.  Life is precious and through all of this, we decided it was time to live life and enjoy every bit of it.  We found the support group, Organ Transplant Maui shortly after moving to Maui and have enjoyed meeting everyone, sharing and hearing their stories.  We want to support anyone going through a transplant, treatment, or any other trying times.  We want to support those thinking of becoming a donor as well as those needing hope.  It is through our faith that we have hope and this is what continues to help us through the trying times.

JASMINE

I received my new liver in October 2017 at Oschner in New Orleans. I had Hepatitis C which damaged my liver enough to need a transplant.  After three years on a waiting list at UCLA, my doctors at Kaiser gave me the opportunity to leave CA to get my liver transplant.

I was in New Orleans a week when a nurse called and offered me a liver, another hep C liver, which I did sign up to broaden my chances.  The transplant went better than expected and left the hospital the next week.  Unfortunately, the immunosuppressant didn’t agree with me and I ended up in the hospital for the next month while they changed my medication.

In January I was well enough to go home to CA with my new liver without any further problems.

In March I started taking the new Hep C medication and without any drug-related complications, I am now free of Hep C.

It was a life-changing event for me and my three children who were there from my diagnosis to my homecoming.  I’m so grateful for this extension of the life I live and am here for anyone who needs transplant support.

SANDY

Hi! My name is Sandy. I’m a living donor since 2019. We have known Larry and his family for 25 years since our boys went to school together from kindergarten till graduation (and Larry’s wife lovingly cared for our youngest since he was just a couple of months old).

When I was a child I saw a news story about a living donation and it made a lasting impression on me. I told myself I would do that one day since it was so life-changing to the person who needed a kidney. In the 90’s I worked as a dialysis technician for a couple of years so I saw how difficult it was on the patients to live tied to a machine for hours three times a week. When hearing that Larry needed a kidney, I said yep, this was meant to be and applied. They took a lot of convincing and well over a year of testing (I got a free head-to-toe physical!) The surgery was simple, done laparoscopically, and the healing was quick (though I took full use of the six weeks off work :) So far I have had no issues whatsoever, and often forget that I need to be careful about my remaining kidney…until I have a hard fall off my bike or snowboarding then I lie there thinking…hey kidney, you good?! Lol. So far so good, and I’m grateful that Larry has better health and freedom in his life!