"Will you consider being tested as a kidney donor to save my life?" A thought that runs through her mind every minute of every day.
It's a Friday afternoon in 2020, and Mindy, a wife, mom, sister, aunt, unplugs her iPhone charger, packs her bag, and waits for the nurse to come and turn off the beeping alarm. That alarm means her infusion of magnesium, her second this week is done. Mindy says goodbye to the nursing staff and her infusion neighbor for this session and heads home to nap. The magnesium makes her utterly sleepy. Before 10 am today, Mindy was having headaches, body aches, and muscle cramping all over her body. Her twice a week infusion helps curb these side effects so that she can try and live a more 'normal' life for a few days out of the week. But her normal is not your normal.
Mindy is a kidney transplant patient who is currently in need of a second living donor to save her life. At 36 years old, after fainting in the hot Arizona summer heat at her oldest daughter's outdoor high school graduation in 2002, Mindy was told she was in renal failure.
The cause? She has Alport Syndrome, a genetic kidney disease that causes a person's native kidney to deteriorate and can eventually result in the need for a kidney transplant to live.
In 2005, after years of being sick and months on dialysis, her father in law, David, found out that he was a donor match. And on April 12, 2005, Mindy received a new lease on life, in the form of a kidney, a priceless gift from someone who loved her as his own daughter. Mindy enjoyed many healthy years with her kidney, and the family even took a big vacation to Hawaii to celebrate. This one noble act gave a mother back to her children, and a sister, aunt, daughter, wife, back to their family.
In 2016, symptoms of headache, nausea, cramping, and more began to creep up, and Mindy decided to make an appointment with her doctor. Symptoms worsened, and doctors concluded Mindy’s kidney was experiencing issues, and they did not know why. Her family traveled to various doctors outside of her home state, all over the country, to try to find a reason, and all came up short. The only solution they could offer would be to place a port inside of Mindy’s chest and deliver magnesium each week, which her kidney was dumping with no medical explanation as to why. As her kidney function began to lessen, the magnesium dumping became worse, and her kidney went into rejection. Mindy was forced to quit her job, a heartbreaking scenario she knew all too well, and magnesium infusions in a hospital became a three day a week occurrence. No more vacations to be planned, no more planning dinners ahead with friends, no more ‘normal’. Her entire life would now be designed around a rejecting kidney, and all that comes with it. Her days, weeks, and months will be filled with doctor visits, tests, procedures, and more. This becomes routine and a new normal, but as the kidney falls in function, the waits until she can be added to the transplant list to begin seeking a new kidney donor.
In the fall of 2018, Mindy hit 19% kidney function and was officially listed. Now, she seeks your help by asking a question to strangers. “Will you consider being tested as a kidney donor to save my life?” A thought that runs through her mind every minute of every day. Mindy’s family, all affected in various ways by their genetic condition, decided to start an online mission through plush teddy bears they call MinMinBears. They hope that by sending these bears to all 50 states, they can tell her story and that an extraordinary person will gift her a priceless gift and ultimately save her life.
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