At the age of five, Kate was unlike other children. Kate had Polycystic Kidney Disease, Nephrogenic Diabetes and a duplicating system, meaning she had four kidneys and four ureters. With the help of doctors and her family, Kate was able to keep her health stable, until 1993, when it began to rapidly deteriorate after her right set of kidneys completely failed and her left set was only 10 percent functional. Kate’s doctors thought if they removed her right set of kidneys, her left set would work harder, but her doctors were wrong. One month after the removal of her right kidneys, Kate’s left set failed completely and she was placed on peritoneal dialysis. Desperate to get Kate healthy and off dialysis, Kate’s family members were tested to see if they could donate a kidney to her. “Through family being tested, we found out that my dad was a match,” said Kate. “However, the doctors wanted to use him as a backup donor and try for a deceased donor first. I was put on the transplant waiting list on August 1, 1993.” On September 29, 1994 at 3:30 a.m., Kate and her family received the long-awaited phone call alerting them a kidney was available. Just five days after receiving the transplant, Kate’s new kidney failed and had to be removed. For three years following the removal, Kate was without kidneys and on dialysis, a treatment that was hard on a child’s system.
Finally, on January 2, 1997, once Kate’s body was ready for another transplant, her dad donated a kidney to her, giving her a second chance at a normal childhood and a healthy future.
“I felt amazing after surgery, but my parents said I probably never remembered feeling well because I was diagnosed at such a young age,” said Kate. “Donation changed my life because I am able to live without being attached to machines”. Kate is most proud of the fact that when she meets new people, they cannot tell she was ever sick or had a transplant. An opportunity her father gave her.