HUMBER RIVER REGIONAL HOSPITAL TORONTO TAP AMBASSADORS

linda andrade for transplant ambassador program

Linda Andrade

A year into my marriage, I was diagnosed with Polycystic Kidney Disease. I was devastated because I had witnessed the effects of the disease it had on my father almost 20 years earlier. I thought I knew what it meant, a lifetime of dialysis. But my father’s story did not become my story.

I was determined to live a healthy active lifestyle, continue my career and eventually have two smart and healthy children. 16 years later, my chronic kidney disease ultimately caught up to me. My kidney function was deteriorating. My nephrology team told me that it was time to start preparing for dialysis or consider having a living donor transplant.

I started to prepare my family and friends for my kidney journey because it was going to affect them as well. My life was going to change drastically and I needed some help. I was certain that I was going to have to come to terms with life on dialysis. I was terrified. As I started to tell my story, people wanted to help in any way they could. My husband, my family, my friends and others I didn’t really know wanted to get tested.

I was shocked that anyone would want to donate a kidney to me. I didn’t feel worthy of such a gift. Seeing that true altruism existed, the fear and sadness I had turned into strength and resiliency. Ultimately, after many tests, my husband became my best potential living donor. On June 14, 2012, we once again had another reason to celebrate an anniversary. He became my perfect kidney match. lindaa@transplantambassadors.ca