Joshua Nelson, Recipient
My Transplant Story
Mom gave me life—twice. How many people can say that?? I can! I’m 13 years old and 6 years ago, my mom gave me one of her kidneys so that I could feel what living really is!!! I was born with one kidney that didn’t work at all and one that was small and not working enough to survive without dialysis. I was 4 days old when I had my first peritoneal dialysis catheter placed through surgery. I don’t remember it—or the stuff my mom went through after that. My first memory of being sick was that my mom bought me a TV for my room. I was about 3and I remember thinking it was SO COOL to have a TV in my room!!! But it was there for a reason—I was on dialysis 12 hours a day! As I got older, those 12 hours of dialysis was like a prison sentence to me. Other kids were spending the night with their friends (MY friends!), going to water parks, and playing lots of sports. Dialysis was a part of my life and I needed it to live, but it was more like just surviving. How do you really live when you’re connected to a machine so many hours a day?
As I got older, my mom started talking about “the transplant.” I don’t think I really understood what that meant. I was only 6 years old when mom and my doctors started getting me ready. I remember mom being really scared. She didn’t think I knew that she was scared, but I know she was. She had never had any type of surgery before. I had so many surgeries I couldn’t count them all. This was just one more, right? WRONG!! I didn’t know that this surgery would give me a life I never knew about!!! Mom was in a hospital next to mine because I was in one just for kids. I remember waking up after the surgery and asking to see her. Neither one of us felt very good, but we needed to see each other! I couldn’t believe it when they showed me where they put mom’s kidney and that it was WORKING!! It was the first time I remember NOT being on dialysis!! I was 7 and starting a NEW LIFE.
As I got better, I found a WHOLE NEW WORLD!! I get to go to NIGHTTIME baseball games, swimming parties and to friends’ homes to spend the night! I play sports!! I get to see sunsets IN PERSON instead of on TV or through my window. And I got to go to Disney World without any tubes or dialysis, and without being so tired and sick! We went to Disney 3 months after my transplant to celebrate my life—my NEW life!!! Now I’m a Passion Panel member with Mid-America Transplant Services because I want EVERYONE to know how important transplants are!! I’m LIVING proof—and I’m LOVING life!! Thanks Mom!!!
Mid-America Transplant Services Passion Panel members, Josh and Carolyn, attended the 2010 “Life Takes Flight” Rose Bowl Parade. Josh was the 2010 Astellas Ride of a Lifetime award winner. As the winner, Josh was given the opportunity to ride as a member of the Donate Life float. Josh and his mother Carolyn traveled to Pasadena, CA to participate in the float decorating process. Please take a look at their journey.