Even at her sickest, Juana Hernandez believed in helping her family and community. With her donor's kidney, she has much more energy to continue serving those around her.
Trisha has always served others. Right now, she's waiting on a kidney transplant so that she can get back to taking care of those she loves.
Just a few years ago, Trisha was a very busy wife, mother, and daughter. She loved getting out to community events – festivals, car shows, motorcycle gatherings. And she loved to get out and help others. She also had a full-time job of 15 years, which she loved, and where she thrived.
Trisha’s life underwent drastic changes due to Polycystic Kidney Disease (PKD). PKD had caused her kidneys to become enlarged – perhaps as large as ten pounds each, and covered in hundreds of cysts that caused her kidney function to rapidly decline. Trisha stopped working in mid-2016, which meant that she wasn’t bending, twisting, stooping, lifting or adding undue stress to her kidneys, but in November 2018, one of her cysts became infected and ruptured. It wasn’t the first time it had happened, but this time, it caused her to have to be hospitalized. She developed sepsis and went into septic shock. She remembers, “It was one of the scariest experiences I have ever had.”
Having been on the kidney transplant waiting list since December 2019, Trisha is seeking what she calls a “kidney angel” – a living donor. She educates the people around her about why a living donor would be ideal: “Living donor kidneys usually last twice as long and have a higher rate of function than kidneys donated after death.”
Trisha’s desire for a kidney transplant goes beyond wishing for her own health. It’s also for her family: “In my case,” she explains, “it will also help me to help my parents. They are in their mid-70s and need me to be able to help them as they age.” Sadly, in September 2020, Trisha’s parents’ home was one of 2300 that was destroyed during wildfires in Southern Oregon. Trisha needs her health back to help them rebuild.
Like all people facing chronic illness and awaiting a transplant, Trisha has bouts of feeling down or even hopeless. But, she says, “I try not to stay there too long. It’s not healthy.” She, her husband Lance, her son James, and their family are grateful for programs like Erase the Wait where she can share her journey and learn ways to find a living donor.
To those considering becoming a living kidney donor or registering to become an organ, eye, and tissue donor at their death, Trisha wants you to know how special your decision is. “It’s a huge act of courage and love.”