Jim and I will be going to the Transplant Games in Pennsylvania this summer. He is a kidney transplant recipient from 2003, with his younger sister donating one of her kidneys to him after we had done hemodialysis for 9 months. Needless to say, she is one of our biggest heroes, because her gift of a kidney enabled Jim to return to a normal life.
I say "we" because I trained to be his dialysis assistant in a program at the local dialysis unit, learning how to run and clean the machine, what to do in an emergency and how to insert the needles and monitor the machine and his vital signs during the dialysis session. We had a dialysis machine in our home, which meant that we could keep a somewhat normal schedule--he continued to work during the day and I had my clay studio at home then. Every other evening we would do the 4 hour session.
You can learn about organ transplantation and how it affects all of us and how you can help by becoming an organ donor, either as a living organ donor or as a deceased organ donor, dedicating any organs to giving life to others after you are done living in your body. Jim will be participating in the transplant games, swimming (he was a collegiate swimmer for LSU, long distance), along with other transplant recipients. His friend, Brian, had a heart transplant, and others on the North Carolina team have had kidney, lung, liver and pancreas transplants. Their stories are amazing and some of these team members are very young. Some are runners, bicyclers, golfers. basketball players, etc. They compete against other state teams from across the nation.
Visit http://www.firstgiving.com/jimgilltpgames to find out more about it.