TRILLIUM HEALTH PARTNERS MISSISSAUGA TAP AMBASSADORS

cindy cherry for transplant ambassador program

Cindy Cherry

When you are just finishing college, the last thing you think about is illness in your family. However, little did I know my parents were keeping from me the extent of my brother’s illness. So when I headed back to Boston, after graduating from school in Kingston, Ontario what a surprise I had in store for me. My brother was pasty face, thin, lethargic, and going through something that you only read about, this thing called dialysis. You soon learn quickly what this world of dialysis is all about. To be hooked up to this machine, and lose 2-4 pounds a sitting, makes you appreciate the work your kidneys do for you and to have one to spare is bonus! I was like most people; I thought dialysis was a cure for his problems. But I could see this was no cure, just a band-aid to the challenges my brother was facing. Our family had never faced this kind of dilemma. We took our health for granted, big mistake by us and many. The Cherry family is made up of “fixers”. We determine what the problem is, and then we fix it. So what were we to do now? No way was my brother going to continually live like this. So my Mom, Dad, and I took all the tests to see who qualified the best for a kidney transplant. I felt like the winner because I was the best candidate. How many times you see friends with ill family members and they wish they could do something? Well I could and was happy to do it, and felt lucky this was an alternative to my brother being dependent on this machine. More preliminary tests, such as deciding which kidney to take and we were off to the races. I can honestly say, without sounding like a hero, I had absolutely no apprehension. I think it could be called a bit of nativity. Our operation was early in the morning, and that evening my brother visited my room, to tell me to get up and start walking around like him. The color was back in his cheeks, that pasty face look had vanished. It was truly a miracle to see what a difference a healthy kidney can do. Thirty-eight years later, Tim and the kidney are going strong. I myself, had absolutely no after effects. The doctor’s recommendations to me were, get lots of exercise, cut down on salt and alcohol, eat lots of vegetables, drink lots of water, and watch your weight. Sound familiar? cindy.cherry@transplantambassadors.ca