Walk for Kidneys Team Spotlight: Team Sweet’s Supporters
June 3, 2014
Sweet's Supporters: In Honor of Jameria Smith
Twenty-four year-old Jameria Smith from Chicago Heights has a few goals set for the future: volunteer at a charitable organization, become a famous pastry chef, and receive a kidney transplant.
Jameria was diagnosed with kidney disease when she was 19. She has been on dialysis for the past two years and was hospitalized over 15 times in the past year alone due to various illnesses. However, Jameria could not be more optimistic about her condition. She attributes her positive energy and drive to the extensive support from her boyfriend and parents.
“Even before I was diagnosed with kidney disease they used to build me up and they would tell me ‘life is going to happen and obstacles are going to be in your way, but the most important thing is to overcome them’,” Jameria said.
Last year Jameria participated in the National Kidney Foundation of Illinois’ Walk for Kidneys for the first time. This year Jameria and her team, Sweet’s Supporters, is one of the top fundraising teams, having raised over $1,000—doubling her original fundraising goal.
Jameria’s family nickname, Sweetpea, was the inspiration for her team name, Sweet’s Supporters. Jameria’s grandmother started calling Jameria Sweetpea for her bald head as a baby, and also for her lovable personality.
The wait for a kidney transplant can be a long one—Jameria has been on the waiting list in Illinois since 2010 and in Wisconsin since 2012. The average wait time for a kidney transplant is three to five years, but can vary depending on blood type, region and numerous additional factors. Every day, 18 people die because the organ they needed did not come in time.
Despite these statistics, Jameria remains positive. While she waits for a kidney transplant, she spends her time reading, shopping, meeting new people, and baking. Jameria dreams of becoming a pastry chef one day.
Why does she walk? “I walk for hope and for others who may not feel hopeful,” Jameria said.
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