Serendipity: the accidental discovery of something pleasant, valuable, or useful.
I think I’ve used this word more in the past month than I have since my SATs.
Yesterday was an incredible day that gave me the opportunity to stop and give thanks for the blessings of good health. Together with several members of the Unyts team, I had the privilege of meeting fellow ECMC patients who are in the midst of their medical journey, all waiting for “the call” to say that a kidney is available for them. I presented a red rose to each person as a way to say, “You are never forgotten; I know what you’re going through right now and will continue to advocate for organ donation until there no longer is a waiting list for organs.” While their backgrounds and stories are all diverse, we all share the struggles of kidney disease: one was a mom, like me; one was 23, the age when I received my first transplant; one shares my name: Amy Lynn. Serendipity.
On Christmas Day, my husband, Jerry, son, Nicholas, and I will be headed to California to begin our adventure to the Tournament of Roses Parade. I’m proud and deeply grateful for Unyts’ sponsorship of me on the Donate Life float. Riding the float with be a joyful, multi-colored exclamation point at the end of what has already been a 29 year journey through our health care system.
The theme of the parade is “Oh the Places You’ll Go.” As a big reader and lover of Dr. Seuss, it’s perfect for me. The Donate Life float theme is “Journeys of the Heart” and it’s massive: 55’ long and 30’ high, filled with soaring hearts. Perfect! I’ve collected red hearts since high school. Jerry and I love the band Genesis, and our dining room is decorated with album covers from the band’s entire catalogue. The theme song for the float was recently announced: Phil Collins, “You’ll Be in My Heart.” Serendipity.
If you happen to catch a glimpse of me on the float (or use your imagination if I’m on the non-TV-side of the float), you know I’m waving to say Thank You to my first donor family. After more than 26 years, I recently found my first donor and now know his name: Joseph Albers. His mother has given me a photo of him to carry on the float. I will also carry a photo of my childhood friend, Maureen Wirth, who donated a kidney to me four years ago. I’m waving to thank her and her family. I’m waving to my mom, sisters, relatives, and friends to say Thank You for their unending love and unwavering support during nearly three decades of renal disease. I’m waving to show that I’m thankful to God for giving me such a great medical team, keeping me alive to love my husband and son.
I’ll also be waving to draw the attention of strangers, saying, “Pay Attention! Nearly 120,000 Americans need an organ transplant and Organ Donation Works! Have the conversation with your family and sign the donor registry.”
As we begin packing our suitcases and wrap our Christmas gifts, I always think of two of my greatest gifts: my transplanted kidneys. That a 20-year-old man from Bath, New York could be a perfect six-antigen match for me and a friend, fellow cheerleader, hurdler, and National Honor Society member could also match me can be described simply…Serendipity.
Blog post by Amy Nash. Amy is a double kidney recipient, diagnosed with End Stage Renal Disease during her senior year at The University at Buffalo. She received her first transplant at age 23 from a 20 year old organ donor killed in a car accident. Years later, Amy was once again placed on the transplant list after her renal function fell below 20%. This time, an old childhood friend was a match.
Amy has been invited to Washington, D.C., to speak with Congressional staffers in an effort to ensure passage of the 2008 Medicare Health Act. Amy speaks to groups all over WNY, about the importance of organ donation.