After 2 decades of kidney disease and several years of dialysis, Gloria received the gift of life through a paired kidney exchange.
Every morning when I wake up, reach for my glasses and realize I don’t need them, I say a prayer of gratitude to the two people who have blessed me with the gift of sight.
I have always been an active person. I love any kind of activity or competitive sport. I love tennis, racquetball, hiking, backpacking, camping, whitewater rafting and downhill skiing.
When I was 42, I was diagnosed with Fuchs Dystrophy, a genetic disease of the cornea. Fuchs causes severe loss of vision with eventual blindness. As my vision deteriorated, I began altering my life both at home and work. I slowly began giving up activities like riding my motorcycle. Early morning and night driving became increasingly difficult and I would make up excuses not to attend night meetings or activities.
I had lots of embarrassing moments like walking into a rack of men’s shirts at a pro shop when I became blinded by sun coming through the window or falling down in public because I couldn’t see curbs or steps clearly. I was not able to recognize people if they were more than a few feet away.
I am so thankful to my two donors who have given me restored vision and a new lease on life. I remember about two weeks after my first transplant walking into my kitchen and looking out the window into the woods. I was amazed. I could actually see the texture of the tree bark. I went out into the yard; the daffodils were up and the trees were starting to bloom. My vision was so clear, the colors everywhere were so brilliant it almost hurt to look at them. It was really overwhelming. And then it hit me: Someone who I would never know had given me the most unselfish and precious gift I would ever receive. I sat down on the front steps and cried.
Every morning when I wake up and reach for my glasses and realize I don’t need them, I say a prayer of gratitude to the two people who have blessed me with the gift of sight. My promise to them is that I will live better, kinder, and will do everything in my power to pay this gift forward in their honor.
Donate Life Northwest urges people to designate themselves as a donor. Code your driver's license as donor, sign up on line at donatelifenw.org, or call 503.494.7888 or 1.800.452.1369 for a paper registry form. Please... share your decision with your family!