In Kindergarten, Nicole and Anna were such good friends that they pretended to be sisters. But since Nicole donated a kidney to Anna in 2007, they "share" a kidney and the gift of life - a bond they feel is closer than sisters.
Kidney recipient Luisa Serrano begins each day by giving thanks for her family and her health.
Luisa and her husband had only been in the Portland area for a few years when she began to get sick. She had always been fit and healthy, but suddenly, her legs were swollen and her eyes were puffy. At a routine doctor’s appointment, she learned the reason. Her kidney function had decreased to 50%. She had Focal Segmental Glomerulosclerosis (FSGS).
Dialysis was very hard on Luisa, but it was also necessary. Initially, she did hemodialysis in a clinic, where she was assisted by nurses. It drained all of her energy, and she spent most of her treatment time sleeping. Eventually, she was able to switch to peritoneal dialysis, which she learned to do for herself at home. With the love and support of her family and friends, Luisa endured two years of dialysis treatments.
On April 9, 2001, Luisa became the grateful recipient of a kidney transplant from a deceased donor at Oregon Health & Science University (OHSU). Her life changed immediately, and she was able to do things she hadn’t been able to do for a long time – exercising, working, traveling, and even eating some of her favorite foods from her native Guatemala that she hadn’t been able to eat during her illness.
For Luisa, the most treasured gift her donor gave her was the ability to have her children. She and her husband are the proud and happy parents of two teenagers.
Luisa shares her story and wants people to know how powerful the gift of organ donation is. She says, “Having a new kidney is like being born again. I try to live each moment the best I can, and every day I thank God for this second chance.”