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Juana's Journey: Living Donor & Advocate

For Donate Life Month, Juana shares her story of why she became a living donor and advocate for kidney patients like her mom.

My connection to kidney disease is very personal—it started with my mom’s diagnosis. Seeing her deal with kidney disease day in and day out really opened my eyes to what it’s like living with this tough condition. It was eye-opening and brought us even closer together.

Determined to do something meaningful, I decided to get healthier and support her in the biggest way I could. I managed to lose 50 pounds and went through a paired exchange program to donate my kidney, hoping to make a real difference not just in her life but for others grappling with similar challenges.

This whole experience really showed me the strength of human resilience and the power of a little help from friends and family. It’s turned me into a vocal advocate for kidney health and has inspired me to help others understand how important this cause is. Now, I'm more committed than ever to supporting this community and making sure we can do more to help those in need. This isn’t just a cause for me—it’s a lifetime commitment.

This journey wasn't just about the physical changes, though those were huge. It was also about the emotional and psychological growth I went through. Being a living donor showed me the immense impact one person can have on the lives of others. It connected me with a community of donors, recipients, and medical professionals who are all fighting the same fight – to save and improve lives.

Every day, I'm reminded of the decision I made to donate, and it continues to inspire me to live a life full of purpose and generosity. As far as physical changes, I feel great! Donating has not affected my daily life negatively in any way.

Getting involved with kidney donation really opened my eyes to the importance of maintaining kidney health and how it impacts everything, from your daily energy levels to overall longevity. As I learned more I realized how many people are struggling silently with issues and what little awareness is about preventing and managing this condition.

Being able to join a support group or talking with friends and family about your health goals, having a support network can be incredibly beneficial. It keeps you motivated and can provide additional tips and resources. A positive outlook can be a powerful tool!

I think that raising awareness and encouraging proactive heal, we can make a difference for millions. For me, it all started with a simple but powerful commitment. Knowledge is power,

especially when it comes to your health. You have to understand your risk factors, like high blood pressure, diabetes, and your family history. Being able to talk with your family and healthcare provider. Regular check-ups can help catch any early detection. In addition, eating a balanced diet, exercising regularly, staying hydrated, and avoiding harmful substances are fundamental.

Encouraging everyone to get involved, whether by educating yourself and others, partaking in events and considering becoming a donor if you can there are several ways to make an impact! I stay inspired by the stories I hear and the people I meet through this journey. Every day, they motivate me to keep pushing forward and spreading the word about kidney health.

Juana, a living kidney donor and advocate, shares her personal journey with kidney disease

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