Stories of Hope: Kyla Aquino Irving

Kyla Aquino - Kideny recipient

In the six months Kyla waited for a life-saving transplant, she recalls having “no energy for school, work, or any of the activities that [she] normally did.”

At only 15 years old, her kidney function had deteriorated so severely that she required dialysis for six months – a process that was hard on her body and lowered her quality of life. “We still don’t know what caused my kidney failure. I was a healthy kid until I turned 15, and then my kidneys suddenly stopped working. My family and I had no clue what we were in for. I remember thinking dialysis was a one-time cure-all, but learned quickly that it was regular treatment to sustain my life.”

Fortunately, testing revealed that her father was a compatible match and he was able to donate a kidney to her when she was 15. Several years later, when she was in need of another transplant, her mother proved to be a match and was able to donate a kidney to Kyla on August 16, 2001.

“There are so many life lessons that I have learned in the process of both of my transplants,” said Kyla, “One of them was the value of my life. I had to learn at a young age that life is precious; count your blessings.”

Although Kyla considers herself “lucky to have relatives who were a match and were able to donate a kidney – [she] knows others aren’t so fortunate.”

“I am a Donate Life Ambassador for the thousands of people who die waiting for a lifesaving organ. Since my transplants, I have become an avid traveler. I have been to the Philippines, Australia, and all over Europe and the Caribbean. Since I got married in 2013, my husband has been my travel companion.”

Kyla’s passion for promoting health has led her to a career in media relations for public health, and she now works at the Sacramento-based Health Education Council.

“I am able to live freely, and play basketball recreationally than even better than before I ever got sick. The best part about my transplants is being in a community of miracles.”

> More Stories