COTA is a 501c3 national charity which helps children and young adults needing a life-saving organ transplant by providing fundraising support. During fiscal year 2018, COTA began over 215 new campaigns and paid nearly $4 million in transplant expenses.
When our daughter, Allison, was in Kindergarten she was diagnosed with Chronic Kidney Disease. The threat of losing a child is gut-wrenching. Somehow doctors, lab visits, medical testing and comforting all three of our daughters completely took over our lives. We also started experiencing the financial difficulties that are connected to organ failure. We were terrified. Our biggest question at the time was, “What if we cannot afford to get any of our girls the medical care they need?” That’s where COTA stepped in. Our friends and family rallied around us, working with COTA to plan fundraisers that would help alleviate our financial fears so we could focus on caring for our daughters. Allison became weak and her growth slowed. She barely complained as her daily medication intake increased to 42 pills. By the time she turned eight years old, we could wait no longer and her kidney transplant was scheduled with me as her living donor.
In December 2007, I donated a kidney to Allison. Upon Allie’s discharge, Robert returned to work and I stayed home for several weeks to heal and manage Allison’s extensive post-transplant care. She grew stronger and we found a new normal. However almost a decade after Allie’s transplant, an unexpected phone call disrupted life again. Our youngest daughter, Katherine, was in End Stage Renal Failure and would likely need to be put on dialysis within a matter of weeks. One bright spot during the difficult days was the reassurance that given COTA’s lifetime commitment, we were able to focus on caring for Katie rather than the fear of how to pay for the mountain of financial challenges ahead.