The greatest thing someone can do for another person is give them the gift of life. I found this out in October 2017 as a kidney was donated to me by a childhood friend. We had the co-surgeries performed at Bay State Medical Center in Springfield, Massachusetts and the quality of life has improved 10-fold for me and my family. I wish I could donate a kidney but I only have one that works. However, I can get the word out for someone who needs a kidney.

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A Western Massachusetts Mom's Kidneys Are Failing

I recently met and interviewed a 39-year-old Sheffield resident named Shawna Martel. Shawna was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes in 1989. Since then the disease has been rough on her organs. In 2006 at age 22 Shawna learned that her kidneys were failing due to diabetes. Shawna received this information right after she was pregnant with her son.

In addition to working, raising a family, and having to handle the everyday activities that many of us have to deal with, Shawna also has to undergo Peritoneal dialysis three times a week, at five hours per session. Though the dialysis sessions are keeping her alive, the sessions tire her out quite a bit. When I met Shawna, I thought to myself "With what this person is going through she has a warm energy and upbeat attitude."

You Can Help Shawna Get That Kindey 

Shawna recently reached out to the Facebook community, spreading awareness of her condition, and is hoping someone may be able to donate a kidney to her. If you can't donate to Shawna, you can spread the word, and share her Facebook post. Without a donor, the average wait time for a kidney is approximately seven years.

More Information and the Paired Exchange Program 

Shawna receives care and checkups approximately every six months at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston. If you or someone you know would be interested in donating a kidney to Shawna, you can contact the transplant center at Massachusetts General Hospital, call Shawna at (413) 717-5038, or reach out to Shawna on her Facebook page. If your blood type isn't compatible with Shawna's you can still help her get a kidney by participating in the Paired Exchange Program which you can learn about by going here.

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