Fresno State alumna donated kidney, gained more in return – Fresno State News – Fresno, California

Fresno, California 2021-06-16 14:31:49 –

Sarah Hawkins was in bed scrolling Facebook when she saw a post from an old Fresno Elementary School classmate about her sick father on Sunday morning.

“My dad has been on dialysis for six years and doctors say it won’t last long without a transplant,” the post said. The whole family was tested to donate kidneys, but no one matched.

Hawkins turned to her husband Ben and told him she was going to take the test. Both Hawkins and her husband were graduates of Fresno State University and had the honor of being honor students of the second class president. Smit Camp Family Honors College..

According to Hawkins, the post wasn’t looking for donors, it was just to help connect with the donor center. However, she contacted her friend Matthew Gillian, reconnected after more than 20 years, took a test, and found out that she was a match.

“When this opportunity came, I was, sure, I would do it,” said Hawkins, who graduated with a degree in kinesiology. Health and Human Services College..

As a kid, Hawkins remembers going to a blood center with his parents, who were consistent donors. She helped organize a blood donation in high school for one of her best friends who needed blood while fighting leukemia. Hawkins became a blood donor when he was old enough and put her name on the bone marrow transplant registry. She later learned that she could become a living organ donor when a colleague donated a portion of her liver to another person.

The donor process took about 10 months with physical testing and screening to ensure that the donor and recipient were healthy. They each passed. Hawkins said he wanted to know more about his recipient, Dr. Terry Gillian, a former general surgeon in Fresno, but at first their contact was minimal. He has the same name as his father.

Hawkins, club and organization coordinator at California Polytechnic State University in San Luis Obispo, said: “If for some reason I change my mind, I don’t want him to feel the pressure of a balanced life.”

The surgery was performed on February 6, 2019 at the University of California, Los Angeles. Terry Gillian received Hawkins’ left kidney and called it “left-handed.” He stood up and roamed in front of Hawkins. According to Hawkins, surgery is often easier for recipients than for donors.

Since then, Gillian has become a family, Hawkins said. They checked her before and after surgery and couldn’t see each other before the pandemic, but they kept their friendship strong for many years.

Terry Gillian came to Fresno for general surgery training in 1975 and left the area for several years. After that, it opened from 1982 to 2018 and started private business.

“It’s overwhelming to know and respect the fact that someone considers giving a kidney to another person, but knowing that someone went to school with your son is a special experience. (And I may have met when she was very young) Donated me a better life, “said Terry Gillian. “I’m starting to understand that Sarah is really a special person on this planet to take care of it. She’s a really bright light and God shines in front of me. He gave me. “

This detail is secondary to their kidney-donating journey, but Hawkins wants to point out that they were a perfect match, even though she was a white woman and Terry Gilligan was a black man. I will. She encourages everyone to be open-minded about the donation process. “Don’t deny that you can be a blood donor based on gender, ethnicity, and lifestyle. Terry and I may not look like a family, but my kidneys are still perfect. Was consistent with. “

Donor’s journey also helped Hawkins in ways he didn’t know was possible. She met other kidney donors and connected with organ donors. It started when Hawkins began tagging himself as a kidney donor triathlete in a social media post. That’s how she found the kidney donor athlete tissue that is currently on the board. She will take part in a trek to Mount Kilimanjaro, World Kidney Day, March 10, 2022, to raise awareness of the advocacy of kidney donations.

“I’m happy to be able to disseminate information about the need for organ donation,” Hawkins said. “I would like to spread the word so that more people can be tested and whatever they can do to help those in need of organ donation.”

Fresno State alumna donated kidney, gained more in return – Fresno State News Source link Fresno State alumna donated kidney, gained more in return – Fresno State News

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