My name is Jenifer Smith and I am waiting.
When I was 4 years-old I was diagnosed with diabetes. By the time I was 28 years-old I was told my kidneys were both failing and that I would need to start dialysis treatment.
After being on hemodialysis for one month, I received my first kidney transplant in 2007.
I was excited for this second chance. During this time I went on vacation and the best moment was just standing in the ocean taking in how beautiful it all was and how good I felt. As I would soon find out, you never know when that might change. After experiencing a healthy life and seeing all the possibilities life could hold, it was devastating to learn that I would be waiting on transplant yet again.
Today, I have been waiting for a kidney and pancreas transplant for three years. The closest thing I can compare it to is like being trapped in a body that you have no control over. It can be frustrating and exhausting but I choose to fight through it because I’m not going to give up.
I take every opportunity my health gives me to do what I love like marrying my best friend, Jeremy. Unlike most women of my age, I can’t think of anything better than growing old with him. I welcome the day that we are white haired with faces worn from too much laughter. I do sometimes fear that I won’t make it to this day, but I have hope.
There are over 120,000 of us waiting on a second or in my case, a third chance. Hopefully after reading this, someone out there will be inspired to say “yes” and forever change the life of a stranger in need. I’m saying “yes” and I’m asking you to do the same. Will you say “yes” to giving someone else a chance at the life they dream of?
Hopefully the next time we meet, I’ll be able to say I’m not waiting, I’m living.
Awaiting a Kidney & Pancreas Transplant