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Kerry Howard – A Personal Sacrifice

2011 Speaker

Kerry Howard

A Personal Sacrifice

Talk about taking a risk and leaving my comfort zone…

In November of 2005, my husband of 38 years needed a kidney transplant after more than 10 years of a progressive disease. Through those 10 years I had thought about organ donation, but the disease progression was slow and as such, it wasn’t in the forefront of my mind. When we found out the need for dialysis or a transplant was inevitable, I again started giving it serious thought. Yes, I knew it would be somewhat risky and it was definitely out of my comfort zone, but I also knew that it was something I wanted to do. I never felt pressure from my husband. In fact, for all the obvious reasons, he was set against it and didn’t even want me to consider it. I however, knew it was precisely what I was going to do. I will also tell you that never once in the weeks of extensive testing did I EVER think that I would not be a match.

I guess this is where the fearless part comes in. I was a match and surgery was scheduled. My husband was taken to the operating room first, which left me with my family and friends for a bit of time. They all kept telling me that I exhibited no fear whatsoever. It was the truth. I think we all wonder what our purpose in life is, and what we are put on this earth to accomplish. That morning, I knew my purpose. It was to give sustaining life to my best friend and husband. The surgery was completely successful and we both recovered very well. We were able to live a very full life and even welcomed our first grandchild, a beautiful baby girl, later that spring.

Fast forward to November of 2010. My husband was diagnosed with a very aggressive form of cancer. Despite surgery, radiation and chemotherapy treatments, he was unable to survive this disease. He passed away April 22, 2011. Another test for me. I will tell you that my “fearless” kidney functioned like a champ throughout his illness and treatment.

I guess I did take a bit of a risk in being an organ donor, but it was the most rewarding event of my life. Please consider organ donation. Being a bit fearless will bring great rewards! I promise.