Melissa Matthis

eCampaign_MelissaMatthis_SdyneySims_photoI am a living kidney donor. I donated a kidney to my mom on November 28, 2006 at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center. I have been registered as an organ donor ever since I received my Driver’s License at eighteen years old. But I never could have imagined the real impact of that choice until I was faced with it three years later. My mom, Michele was diagnosed with renal failure in April 2002. The cause is still unknown. She was diagnosed one month after my daughter, Sydney was born. When I found out that my mom needed a kidney, I did not think twice about wanting to give her one of mine. And, of course being a typical mom, she declined my offer. She wanted to get on the waiting list which meant that she would have to go on dialysis. eCampaign_MelissaMatthis_MicheleKellyLove_photoAfter more than four years of watching my mom go through dialysis three times a week, I just could not continue to watch her go through that any longer. So, in August 2006, I inquired about the donation process and what I needed to do. I had gone through extensive testing physically and mentally to make sure that I was in good health in every way and to make sure that I was not being pressured into donating. After completing the pre-donation process, I received a letter stating that I was a match for my mom. I tried to keep it a secret as long as I could. But, when she received her letter stating they had found a match for her and noticed that I had received a letter from Cedars, she immediately knew. At first, she was really angry with me for doing this but I did not care. Plus at this point, the surgery was scheduled and there was no turning back. Eventually, she had no choice but to get over it because she knew that it would improve her quality of life. After the surgery, we both found out that we were a closer match than twins. What an amazing bit of information to receive. We both have been doing great since the surgery. eCampaign_MelissaMatthis_Grandchildren_photoI like to say that our lives have come full circle. She gave birth to me on Christmas Day at Cedars-Sinai and I gave life back to her right after Thanksgiving. Knowing that the life expectancy for someone on dialysis is currently between five and six years, my mom probably would not be here today if she continued to wait for a kidney. Now my mom is able to enjoy her mother, three children and four grandchildren to the fullest. We are all truly blessed!





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