PKD Connection Blog

PKD Will Not Beat Me

A positive heart

Valen raises PKD awareness with her custom license plate and tire cover.

There are experiences and tragedies which we endure and can’t ever forget, but I believe it is important to find the strength to keep moving forward. Putting one foot in front of the other can unfold differently for different people, but I choose to lead the way with a positive heart. It means so much to me that I’m able to use my journey as a vessel to help support and connect with others and in turn I find strength and inspiration.

I recently created a unique way to connect and raise awareness. I’ve had an END PKD license plate for seven years and wanted to expand on being a driving billboard for causes near and dear to me. When you are a registered organ donor in California, a pink donor dot is embedded on your driver’s license, so I had a custom tire cover made with the pink donor dot on it.

Valen’s custom donor-dot tire cover.

It wasn’t long until the tire cover sparked priceless interactions. One day, I was sitting in my Jeep at a red light when I looked to my left and saw a woman in the car next to me repeatedly saying, “Thank you,” while holding her hands in a prayer position. At first I was perplexed, but quickly realized that she must have seen my tire cover and had a connection to organ donation. I immediately rolled down my window as I wanted to make sure she knew I was a recipient and not a donor. She shared that her husband had cancer and has to be three years cancer-free before he is allowed to go on the transplant waiting list and is about to be placed on the list for a kidney. I briefly told her my connection to transplantation and I wished her and her husband all the best and that I hope he receives a kidney very soon. She said, “All we can do is keep moving forward.” We then blew kisses to one another and drove off in different directions.

I was incredibly moved by our heartfelt conversation and tears streamed down my cheeks. This was exactly why I wanted to have this tire cover created – to connect with kindred spirits, help raise awareness and give hope. I immediately called my mother to share the story with her and she was quite touched and expressed how she loves my positive heart.

Valen’s tire-cover has started inspiring interactions.

I believe beauty can be found during and after some of our hardest trials. We have the power to make the best of our journey and help support others along the way. Putting my story out to the universe has in turn given me amazing experiences and taught me valuable lessons. One is that we can find light and inspiration from strangers that may only cross our paths once in our lifetime. It is times like these that keeps me moving forward with a positive heart.

How do you keep moving forward with a positive heart?

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