My name is Ariane and I’m 42 years old, I live in Los Angeles. I was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes when I was 12. Although at the time the doctors told me that I had kidney disease due to the diabetes I didn’t really understand or give it much thought until much later in my life. This January 31st, I was blessed to receive a brand new kidney and a brand new life from an exceptional human being orchestrated by an exceptional organization.
This is my story. Thank G-d, I managed to have two healthy boys before feeling that my kidneys were compromised. I stayed at a steady kidney function for 9 more years after I had my kids. In early 2017 my kidney function started to go down but I still never thought that a transplant was in the cards for me, in fact, I wouldn’t even listen to my doctor when he tried to bring up the subject, I felt like I would always manage. Even though my creatinine was getting worse, I truly felt that it would go back down and stabilize. It didn’t happen that way however.
By August of 2017 my creatinine went from 2 to 3 and at that point my doctor said that if I want to avoid dialysis I need to start talking to family members and find out how I could get a kidney. It took me a long time to digest this. First, I still felt really good and my lifestyle hadn’t changed at all. I was working as a fashion buyer and traveling. Second, I didn’t really understand what a transplant meant. I was under the impression that getting a transplant would make me feel worse. After my initial shock, I decided to figure things out. My parents had heard about Renewal and asked me to meet with Menachem while I was in NY on a business trip in September 2017. Even at that point, the first thing I told Menachem was that I really don’t think that I’ll get to a point where I’ll need a transplant or at least not in the near future, I was just meeting him to get Information.
The following month, my creatinine had not gotten better and Menachem happened to be in LA with AJ (whom I met for the first time). They convinced me to do a video asking for help getting a kidney. I felt very uncomfortable asking anyone for help or even with the thought of the whole world knowing my situation as I never really spoke about it but I didn’t think it would ever be sent out so I did it. My creatinine went down to 2.5 and I felt like I didn’t need to hurry to post the video. AJ wisely advised me to post the video anyway and told me that sometimes creatinine can get worse very quickly. He was right. I posted the video against what I felt I should do and two weeks later, my creatinine went to 4 and then I started to panic.
By then, the video had gotten quite a bit of momentum and I knew people were calling Renewal to see if they could help in any way. I can’t explain it but I never worried. Knowing Renewal was there and by my side made all the difference. Somehow that reassurance gave me the peace of mind that everything would work out. I slowly started getting worse but still felt good so it was hard to imagine getting a surgery when you feel like nothing is wrong.
By early December,
Renewal called to tell me that although many people called to test for me, my older brother Haimy was the best match. Haimy tested for me and passed all the exams and was willing to do it.I was nervous to have someone so close to me go through this. Eventually I came to appreciate that it would be my own brother and it would work out perfectly. The surgery was scheduled for the end of December in NY. I started getting all my stuff in order and was trying to mentally prepare myself for what was about to happen. About 10 days before the surgery was to take place, Haimy took his family skiing as he has done since he was a kid. He was skiing on a kiddie hill when he slipped over a hidden rock and fell on his back. He broke his back and needed a 6 hour surgery and 10 steel rods put in his back. Needless to say our surgery was cancelled. His surgery went well thank G-d and he is doing great.
Renewal was quick to reassure me that they had a plan B and C and that I shouldn’t worry. That made all the difference. I put my faith in G-d and them and waited. Early January I started feeling bad though and I was so afraid to have to go on dialysis that it was traumatizing me. Renewal told me that they had a good candidate and that he would be able to do it mid february. A total stranger was willing to do this for me. I could’t even believe it. This is what Renewal does and what makes them a one in a million organization, but when you are the recipient of such a selfless act it’s just hard to believe.
I started feeling so bad though and I begged them to see if they can get the donor to do it sooner. The donor, whom I know now to be the most wonderful and selfless human being ever, was kind enough to change the date to Jan 31. I ended up needing two weeks of dialysis so that I could be strong for the surgery. Renewal was there every step of the way. I never felt alone. The surgery went extremely well thank
G-d and I got to meet Avi my donor a month after at a dinner that Renewal planned for our families to meet. It was the most special night and everyone came including the surgeons and everyone at Renewal. I can’t say enough good things about Renewal and Avi. What could have been the hardest time in my life went so smoothly and I feel so blessed to have been put in contact with them.