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We Knew That Death At A Young Age For Both Of Us Was Quite Possible…

At age 15 I was diagnosed with insulin-dependent diabetes and began taking insulin injections daily.  I was in high school and began dating Vince Taylor a short time later.  He was one month older than me.  We were married at age 20 and dreamed of having children in a few years after saving some money.  But after those few years, we learned that Vince had Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia and he died close to his 27thbirthday.  We knew that death at a young age for both of us was quite possible and we became Christians. Something that is deeply important to me. The stress and heartbreak took an obvious toll and within a couple of years I was having multiple laser surgeries on both eyes to prevent blindness and was being prepared to start on dialysis due to complications of diabetes.  I never focused on how bad the future was looking and did the best with what I had each day knowing that God was in control.

When I received the double transplant at age 31 I had no idea what to expect and was hopeful my body would accept and do well with the amazing gifts I had been given.  I wrote to my donors’ family and started receiving letters back from one of his sisters.  A few years passed and I eventually met most of Doug’s family, a blessing for all of us. I began volunteering with our local OPO and then working as a kidney and pancreas transplant coordinator (In-house Coordinator) for the Gift of Life Donor Program.

  I met and married my husband, Alex in 1998 and remembered I had been told six years earlier at the Transplant Clinic that I should wait at least one year to become pregnant.  Alex and I soon met with Dr. Vincent Armenti, MD, PhD of the National Transplantation Pregnancy Registry (NTPR) and learned that a healthy mom and baby were certainly possible based on the data collected by the NTPR (now known as Transplant Pregnancy Registry  since 1991.)

Alex and I now have two daughters, Elizabeth and Erin and we have a blessed and full life together.  Doug’s gifts of a kidney and pancreas have kept me healthy for 25 years and I now work part-time with the Transplant Pregnancy Registry at Gift of Life Institute.  These gifts have allowed me to become a wife, mother, volunteer and research coordinator with the TPR and to develop relationships with fellow transplant recipients and with donor family members that I cherish.  For this, I am forever grateful to Doug and his family.

– Faith

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