Tissue Recipient

“It would be an understatement to say that the past 5 years have been extremely trying, isolating, and exhausting, not to mention excruciatingly painful. My story of becoming a recipient began on January 6, 2014 when an airbag caught my thumb as I was trying to honk at a car who failed to yield and pulled out in front of me.

The airbag injury caused extensive injury to my left shoulder, specifically the scapula (shoulder blade) and surrounding tissues and muscles. It took me over 4 years, 300+ doctors appointments, injections, physical therapy, and multiple levels of genetic testing to obtain a correct diagnosis, which I finally received at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota. I had a life changing surgery there in March 2018, where a donor tendon was tied from my scapula to my rib cage, which helped stabilize my shoulder. This surgery could not have been possible without the generous donation that I received, which I am beyond grateful for every day.

Prior to my accident I was an avid horseback rider, runner, and would do cartwheels after running to stretch out. But afterward, I have not been able to do any of these activities, nor have I been able to sit, drive, dress, open doors, or even breathe without pain. Although my recovery has been more of a marathon than a sprint, I have been reassured by my doctors that I will be able to resume all of my favorite hobbies after I am finished with my recovery.

Despite the hardships, over the years I have learned how overwhelmingly important it is to stay true to yourself, always have a strong support group of loved ones, and keep pushing for answers when the options on the table aren’t good enough. Never give up hope or determination when the odds are against you and despite what countless top medical doctors and tests say to never accept, “we can’t help you” or “there is no treatment for your condition, so you will just have to live with it.”

Most of all, always try to remember to be there for others in a time of need when the tables are turned. It’s easy to believe that the current state of someone’s physical hardships are permanent or forget their tribulations and accept is as their new norm. But it’s always a relief whenever someone points out that setbacks will only define you if you let them get the best of you. I can’t begin to thank the Mayo Clinic and my tendon donor enough for everything they have done for me within the past year. Now because of a donor’s gift, I am able to sit, breathe, and perform daily living activities that I wasn’t able to do without pain prior to my life changing surgery.”