Cal Mitchell thought he was just going to get some results back on routine blood work that day in 2006. Instead, he learned that life had changed forever with a diagnosis of polycystic kidney disease (PKD).
Together, Marilyn and her family faced her kidney disease and dialysis until Marilyn finally received a lifesaving kidney transplant.
Before getting sick, Marilyn Tovar was a very active young woman. 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 continued school, work, and volunteering at her church. She also dedicated time and energy to encouraging and educating the Latino community about donation and transplantation.
Marilyn is fortunate to have a very supportive family -- her mom and siblings. But 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.”
On October 27, 2019, Marilyn received the gift of life. Now, after receiving help herself, Marilyn wants to share what she’s learned with others in the Latino community. Kidney disease and transplant are a challenging 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. With her newfound health, Marilyn volunteers with nonprofit organizations like Donate Life Northwest (as pictured above) and to assist other Latino patients through interpreting and helping them to understand more about the process they are going through.