Andrea S., Recipient, A New Mom Thanks to Her Brother

Andrea-Greta-and-Pete-fb_squareAndrea was diagnosed with kidney disease when she was 17 as a senior in high school. Her kidneys were damaged by a virus called Henoch Schoenlin Purpura (HSP). With the help of her nephrologist, her chronic kidney disease was managed at Stage 3, with daily medication, for 10 years.

And then it wasn’t.

Her routine lab work came back elevated one spring and a biopsy confirmed that the HSP virus that had been dormant in her system for 10 years had woken up. The treatment playbook and medication cocktail that had been successful before couldn’t stop the damage this time, and over the course of six months, her kidneys failed.

She and her husband celebrated their first wedding anniversary that summer.

When her nephrologist mentioned transplant, she was stunned as she never thought she’d need one. But she was weak, fatigued and swollen and knew that transplantation was her only hope for renewed health and a future with her husband.

Her brother offered to give Andrea his kidney and it started working within seconds of being connected. 

Shortly after her transplant, she met a man named Terry who received his kidney in 1977. That’s forty years—four times longer than average. It turned out that Terry’s secret to keeping his kidney for so long was living a healthy life.

Thanks to Terry, Andrea now makes a daily commitment to herself and her donor brother: to live healthfully and gratefully. She is most grateful to be a mother.

Andrea and her husband welcomed their daughter in January 2017. She shares a middle name with her uncle, who saved her mom’s life and gave her a shot at the kind future she couldn’t envision until her transplant.

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