I was diagnosed with polycystic kidney and liver disease 17 years ago. Since then, I have had several surgeries both on my kidneys and liver to deroof cysts and alleviate symptoms, but my kidneys continued to grow and decline in function.

On Nov. 1, 2016, my brother, the only one out of five siblings who didn’t inherit the PKD gene from our dad, saved my life by becoming a living kidney donor and agreeing to participate in an exchange donation. He was not a match for me, so he donated to someone in Washington DC, and in return I received my healthy kidney from someone in New York. When my very tired and oversized kidneys failed, I had to start peritoneal dialysis. My antibodies are quite high, so finding a match was truly a miracle. I had a double nephrectomy at time of transplant so my new kidney could fit just right and I could finally be relieved from carrying polycystic kidneys.

My family and I been participating in the Walk for PKD every year since 2004 and will continue to do so because we wish for no more family members to have to suffer the effects of PKD. I feel beyond blessed and thankful to be alive and healthy again, and to be able to  see my children grow every day and be with my husband. I recently even returned to work full time in social services, which is something I love but had to give up when I started dialysis. Thank you for letting me share my PKD story.