Amy and her family work hard every year to raise money for the National Kidney Foundation, and also raise awareness of all that this organization does in the process. I wanted to do a brief follow-up with Amy about this year's Kidney Walk and express appreciation to all who supported Team Clipston in any way - for EVERY donation, no matter the size, is important. Please enjoy as Amy shares . . .
Q: For those who might not be familiar with your story, briefly tell us why your family participates in the Kidney Walk each year.
My husband, Joe, has battled kidney disease since he first diagnosed with it in 2000. He first went on dialysis in 2003 and then received a kidney from his brother in 2004. In 2008, he went back dialysis after his brother’s transplanted kidney failed.
For the next 3 years, Joe suffered on dialysis. He was so ill that he could only work part-time. His disease was not only difficult for him; it was also difficult for our sons. I felt as if our world was falling apart, and I was desperate to help him.
In my heart, I believed I was supposed to be a donor, and I was devastated when I found out I wasn’t a viable match for Joe. My hope was restored when I found out about the paired donation program, where I could donate a kidney in exchange for one for Joe. I signed up for the program and then prayed and prayed that we would find Joe a match.
On June 14, 2011, I donated a kidney to a woman, and in exchange, Joe received a kidney from my recipient’s husband. We matched another couple and swapped kidneys with them! Joe and my recipient are doing well, and I’m so thankful that I could help both Joe and my recipient.
I’m an avid supporter of the National Kidney Foundation and the Kidney Walk because of everything we’ve been through with Joe. I’m determined to share our story and help others who are facing kidney disease.
The Kidney Walk is a tradition for our family, and every year my mom, our sons, Joe and I walk as Team Clipston. It’s our way of supporting the National Kidney Foundation and also it’s a celebration of Joe’s good health. We see it as a big party.
Q: Please share a little about your family's experience at this year's local Kidney Walk.
The 2015 Carolinas Kidney Walk was held at BB&T Ballpark, which is the new Charlotte Knights Stadium, and it was a beautiful location. My family and I could feel the excitement and energy from the other walkers as soon as we stepped into the ballpark. The actual walk was held in the streets of Charlotte, and we had the choice of doing a 1-mile or 3-mile walk. We chose the 3-mile walk, and it was a lot of fun. We talked to other walkers while enjoying the beautiful sunny day.
Q: You've done very well with donations and even exceeded your goal. How much were you able to raise, and how did it feel to be one of the top fundraisers?
My goal was $1500 and I raised $1735. I was honored and excited when I was recognized as one of the top walkers. I didn’t expect to be recognized, so it was thrilling to hear my name called during the presentation.
Q: Is there anything you'd like to say to your supporters?
I’m so thankful for my family members, friends, and readers who sponsored me! I was worried that I wouldn’t make my goal and then I suddenly exceeded it. What a thrill! I know folks have their favorite charities that they chose to support, so it means a lot to me that they also chose to help the National Kidney Foundation. Also, many are struggling with their own health issues or other financial difficulties, but they were able to give something toward Team Clipston’s goal. It means so much that people donated their hard-earned money toward my walk team. Thank you to everyone who donated!
Q: Looking toward next year, have your goals changed in any way?
Next year I plan to walk and I will most likely keep my goal at $1,500. I will, however, try to find other folks to join my team and possibly even walk with my family and me. I see large teams every year and I wish I had asked more friends to walk with us. I also want to have Team Clipston t-shirts printed. Hopefully I’ll have a group walking with my family and we’ll all have matching shirts!
Amy, your life story continues to inspire many people and I appreciate all that you've shared with us.
For anyone interested in learning more about Amy's experiences, I encourage you to pick up a copy of her memoir, The Gift of Love. And look forward to new updates next spring as Team Clipston gears up for the 2016 Kidney Walk!