“Because all of the ups and downs I went through; from finding out I would have to go on dialysis, I would eventually need a transplant, to being able to recover and go on with my life, but in a different way.” – Michael Baldwin

I was at work when my doctor called and said, “You need to get to University of Cincinnati Medical Center as soon as possible.” It turned out my kidneys were done and I was going to be put on dialysis. The majority of my family lives out of state. I didn’t know how to react so I sat there and cried alone. It was frightening being at the hospital when they put a catheter to my heart. The idea of going on dialysis was terrifying.

My first day at the clinic I felt out of place. I didn’t know anyone. The people there made me comfortable, but going through dialysis treatments three days a week for four hours and trying to maintain a job was a daunting task. Going on a renal diet was even scarier.

It took nine months for me to be placed on the transplant waiting list, and after four months on the list I got the call. I was excited! I thought this was it. I went to the hospital, but after about three hours they said the kidney was damaged. I was sent home very discouraged.

Then about a month later, while I was reporting a story on live television, I got a call. I hung up on the person three times. But, they were relentless. They kept calling until I answered. Thinking this was a telemarketer, I screamed, “What do you want?!” A man was on the phone and basically said, “I want to give you a kidney.”

When I went to the hospital, this was the real thing. I was scared and excited at the same time. Now, I have the opportunity to once again enjoy life. I can truly live an active and full life because of the Gift of Life. I cherish this precious gift, and hope it will last me for a long, long time.

Michael Baldwin