Before getting sick, Marilyn Tovar was a very active person. She’d had some symptoms of kidney problems from a young age, but that didn’t stop her from working, going to school full time, and volunteering with her church as the youth leader. She hiked mountains, rode her bicycle, and had an active social life. At the age of 27, she was diagnosed with kidney disease.
After Marilyn’s diagnosis, her kidney function decreased to 10% in each kidney. She had seven surgeries, and began dialysis three times per week. Despite feeling tired and unwell, she has continued to work six days a week. She struggles now to continue her activities – to earn her degree, to continue volunteering at her church, and to help her Latino community. She feels very fortunate, though, because she has a very supportive family – her mom and siblings. They’ve learned what she can and can’t eat, what she can and can’t do, and how they can help.
Finding help outside of her family was important, too. Marilyn explains, “The best thing that has happened to me in this process was meeting Aimee Adelmann from Donate Life Northwest's Erase the Wait program. She gave me the information I needed to understand my options to be able to have a better life.”
After receiving help herself, Marilyn wants to share what she’s learned with others in the Latino community. Kidney disease and transplant are a long process for anyone, but it’s especially important for Latinos and other minorities to know that they are not alone and they can get the resources to keep going. Marilyn has days where she feels tired, sick, and weak. But she still finds the energy to volunteer with nonprofit organizations like Donate Life Northwest and to assist the patients at her dialysis clinic through interpreting and helping them to understand more about the process they are going through.
Marilyn will need a kidney transplant and will soon be put on the waiting list. She says, “I do not lose hope that it will be soon. I hope I can continue encouraging patients like me who are waiting for a miracle.”