Carmen Gundlach was diagnosed with focal segmental glomerulosclerosis (FSGS) in 2007, which causes the nephrons in her kidneys to become scarred, impeding their health. After years of special diets, managing high blood pressure and high cholesterol, and carrying and delivering two children, her health was at its limit.
In 2019, doctors told Carmen that she was in kidney failure and was put on the transplant waiting list. A coworker began the process to become a living kidney donor, but when COVID-19 hit, everything came to a grinding halt. In May 2020, Carmen got the call she’d been waiting for: a kidney from a deceased donor was ready for her. “My transplant’s been phenomenal; it’s working well,” she says.
Now, Carmen is an advocate for organ and tissue donation, as well as blood donation, from which her son Rowan has benefited. “It saved my life, and blood and platelets saved my son’s life,” she says. She encourages others to consider becoming organ and tissue donors.
“You’re helping other people when you can no longer be here,” she says. “I’m even registered as an organ donor, because I’d like to donate whatever I can when my time is up.”
Every 10 minutes, someone is added to the organ transplant waiting list.
Approximately 113,000 men, women, and children are waiting for life-saving organ transplants. One organ donor has the power to save up to eight lives and change the outcomes of someone’s world forever by giving them a second chance. Additionally, tissue donation can save and improve the lives of up to 75 people with their gifts. You can make a huge impact by registering as an organ and tissue donor.