New Castle, DE resident, Carol Murone, was diagnosed with high blood pressure in her 30s. At the time, she didn’t realize that it could affect her kidneys and cause damage. Her health began to decline years later, when she was in her 50s. She had the early stages of kidney disease, but worked hard to maintain her health through diet and regular doctor appointments to monitor her kidney function.
Her body was also put under stress when she went through chemotherapy. Her kidney failure continued to persist, and doctors told her that she would need to be put on dialysis in the near future. She was added to the organ transplant waitlist for a kidney transplant, and the wait began.
Carol said, “I was extremely tired, anemic, couldn’t walk far and pushed myself to go to work every day and to take care of my family. Before all this happened, I was always going out with friends and was active. It was a surprise to me that I had kidney disease. Doctors really only discovered it after testing to rule it out.” she said.
After only a month on the organ transplant waitlist, Carol received a call that there was a matching donor. A young Argentinian man, who was working in Hawaii at the time, had a fatal accident. His kidney was a perfect match for Carol, and her doctor went before a board to request that the kidney be flown in from Hawaii. Carol received her life-saving kidney transplant in 2007, and just celebrated a decade of good health this past month. Her donor’s family, who lives in Argentina, has connected with her and they correspond frequently, using Google Translate to make communicating between Spanish and English easier.
“Every time I honor my donor, Emilio, his family is grateful. They’ve shared pictures of him with me, and we’re hoping to meet.” said Carol. Today post-transplant, Carol feels great. “I can work out, walk a lot and have more energy now, which is good because I have three grandchildren who are eight, six and one. I also have two sons. It’s incredible because my donor looks more like my son than my biological sons do. He had dark hair and eyes like me.” she said.
Carol shared, “It’s really hard to put into words how grateful I am for what my donor did for me. I can only imagine how difficult it was to make the decision. I honor my donor by participating in Gift of Life events and living a healthy and active life. I think about him every day, and it motivates me to promote donation.” Carol is an active advocate for organ and tissue donation, and is a member of the DE Coalition for Organ and Tissue Donation. She also participates in the Donate Life Transplant Games of America and the DE Dash. “I think when people see how well I’m doing and they know my story, it inspires them to register. I’m here today because someone made the decision to donate.” she said.
Kidney transplant recipients, like Carol, show how impactful receiving the gift of life can be. Through raising awareness about kidney disease, the risk factors and ways to prevent it, lives can be saved.