It’s Nari. If you haven’t noticed, I’ve had the honor of being in charge of fundraising for my younger sister, Jazmine. Most importantly, I have the honor of donating my left kidney to her in just 8 days. A little backstory on me, i’m a SLWCHS graduate, first generation college graduate from the University of Florida (Go Gators!), and am now an educator in Atlanta working with children survivors of war. My partner, Alex, and my cat, Hendrix, are what keeps my days full of love and adventures.
Deciding to be a living organ donor for my sister has been a journey, both emotionally and physically. Years ago when I heard the news that Jazmine was diagnosed with Kidney Disease, I decided to go home from college for the summer because it was hard to process that my best friend was facing an illness so painfully unfair and life changing. I prayed so badly that it was a mistake or that somehow the damage already done to her kidney could be reversed. For a long time I kept my worries and concerns about her health to myself, never wanting to cause more alarm regarding her prognosis. But, life isn’t always fair and her body was already doing its best to keep fighting; 4 years after her diagnosis she was told a transplant would be needed sooner than expected. Being a big sister I knew what I had to do. I knew that her chances of finding a donor match were dramatically higher if it were a sibling. I knew that the chance of her body accepting the new kidney would be higher if it were from a sibling. And I knew that I have already seen and experienced so much of life's beauty that I had to see Jazmine do the same.
Through the initial testing, the dozens of doctors appointments, and the long talks with friends and family I kept hearing the word hero. And to be honest I feel that nearly everyone of you can have a chance to be a hero. You see every day 10 people are added to the organ transplant list, 118,000 total with 101,000 individuals needing a kidney. With such an unbelievingly long waiting time 22 people die each day waiting for an organ. Most major religions support organ, eye, and tissue donation, however there are misconceptions surrounding the topic. Similar to the myth that being an organ donor harms your patient care or pressures doctors to not put your life first and foremost. Sadly, only 54% of Americans are registered organ donors. If we as a country hope to end the waiting list we should start to consider organ, eye, and tissue donation as being our final act of compassion and generosity. When you opt to be an organ donor you can save up to 75 lives. That’s 75 parents who get to see their children grow up, families who get more time with loved ones, and sisters who get to keep their sisters.
Below I have attached a link that directs you to the Donate Life website so you can join your state’s online registry for organ donation. There are also links with more information regarding organ, eye, and tissue donation.
Two days before Christmas, Jazmine was told that she would need a transplant sooner than expected and that dialysis would be started as soon as possible. Being that Jazmine needed to continue working full time, in order to pay her monthly bills and continue to pay toward her medical expenses, she opted to undergo Peritoneal Dialysis. This form of dialysis is able to be performed at home and allows her to work and live as normal of a life as she can without having to visit dialysis centers every other day.
So, a very surreal journey for Jazmine was beginning. In March she underwent surgery to insert a soft, flexible tube in her stomach, so that she could receive the Dialysate that her body desperately needed. Once she recovered, Jazmine had several appointments a week so that she could meet with nurses to learn how to independently administer her dialysis treatments. This was a responsibility that she took very seriously; she understood the severity of her condition and showed maturity beyond her years when tending to her health.
Peritoneal dialysis has two forms, continuous ambulatory peritoneal dialysis (CAPD) and cycler-assisted peritoneal dialysis (CCPD). Basically, the former is able to be administered without the use of electricity and instead relies on gravity, the latter requires the use of a machine overnight while she sleeps. Being that Jazmine insisted on being comfortable with performing both forms, she attended appointments that taught her how to self-administer CCPD and CAPD. Her nights once consisted of eating dinner, playing Call of Duty, cuddling her cat, and hanging out with Aaron, but now her nights also include 8 hours of dialysis treatment. Every night she ends her day attached to a machine receiving dialysate so that her blood can be filtered of waste and fluid, exactly what her kidney is no longer able to do.
Through it all, Jazmine has continued to exhibit bravery everyday. She has continued to show up for herself and keep fighting. We anxiously wait for the day that dialysis is no longer a part of her everyday routine. Thank you to everyone who has donated or taken the time to read this post. Jazmine has received the kindest and most uplifting words from you all. We hope that ya’ll stay with us on this journey, because it is only just beginning. 17 days and counting until surgery!
For anyone that is interested in learning more about what Jazmine is experiencing, below is a link that gives more in-depth information about her dialysis treatments.