Giving the Gift of Life for a Second Time
My name is Brittany Elways, and I have been with DaVita for eight years as a patient care technician, having recently transferred to the new Kidney Home Center in Baltimore, Maryland. When I was 16, I was diagnosed with end stage renal disease (ESRD). At that time I was still active, playing volleyball and softball and I really didn’t know how bad my diagnosis was. It turns out I had urine reflux and when I was diagnosed, it was already too late. Once the doctors were able to fix my urinary reflux, the time came to think about the next step in treating ESRD.
My amazing mother, Tisha Minton, didn’t even question stepping up to see if she was a match for kidney donation. She has been working in dialysis for more than 28 years and understood the challenges I may face the rest of my life. She didn’t even stop and think about herself, putting my needs above hers and embracing the opportunity to be a living kidney donor.
“It really didn’t cross my mind to not give her anything I could,” my mom Tisha said. Through the next year, we underwent tests and blood work until we found out that we were indeed a match for each other.—this was best news we could hope for! In September 2008, I was given another chance at life by receiving my mom’s kidney. She truly gave me the gift of life for a second time around. I didn’t realize how bad kidney failure had made me feel until I woke up from the transplant surgery and felt amazing.
Now almost 10 years later, at 27 years old, my health and kidneys are doing great. I am currently working on getting my nursing degree, and my mom recently relocated to a new dialysis center to work as a nocturnal patient care technician after working at the same center for 25 years. If it wasn’t for my mom doing everything she could to support me in this journey and having a background of knowledge in dialysis, I don’t think I would have made it this far. I am a very lucky person to have a great mom who realized the value of being a living donor!
Learn more about being a living donor here.