Elizabeth Doan

Santa Monica, CA
Living Kidney Recipient

“People say I should be thankful for her kidney. I say I am thankful for her heart.”

Liz & Son

That incredibly good-looking boy in the picture is my son. The day he was born was the luckiest day of my life. I know it’s strange that I didn’t write the “happiest”. The truth is, it was the happiest… but, the story I’d like to tell you is the one that almost kept me from having him.

At the age of 23, I was unexpectedly diagnosed with kidney failure due to IgA Nephropathy, put on dialysis, and told my best option was a kidney transplant. I dropped out of college and was so physically drained that if I wasn’t receiving dialysis, I was at home in bed.

My mother swooped in and saved me. In less than a year my mother – my selfless, unconditionally loving mother – risked her own life to save mine and donated a kidney to me in May 2005. I was discharged from the Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center on my 24th birthday.

Three years later, I graduated college and married the man that stood by my side throughout the entire kidney experience. The thought of leaving me never once crossed his mind. Arvin’s only question to the doctors was, “When can she come home?”

Three years after getting married, we approached the transplant team with our dream of having a baby. My doctor sat us down and said, “It is not the ideal situation for you to have a baby. We can’t tell you that you won’t lose your kidney, but I know that if you don’t try, you’ll regret it for the rest of your life.” I responded, “I was going to try anyway.” He said, “I knew you were,” put his hands around my face and smiled. One month later I was pregnant.

My healthy baby boy was born on February 21, 2012. He cried immediately when he was born, but when the nurse placed him on my chest he immediately stopped crying. I hadn’t even gotten a good look at him, but there was a connection between us that had already been made. He knew I was his mommy. I knew he was my son. Tears of joy ran down my face.

He is now a year and a half and tears still run down my face when I look at how perfect he is. My husband says, “We’ve hit the jackpot. We’ve won the prize of life.” So, he understands. He understands that day was the luckiest day of my life, of our life.

I owe it all to my mother. I owe her for the precious gift that is life. I owe her for the gift of life the second time she gave it to me. I owe it to her that I was lucky enough to be a mother. People say I should be thankful for her kidney. I say I am thankful for her heart. Thank you, Mom. I love you.