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Reily H.

I was 19 attending university in 06/07 when I started to have burning fingers and toes requiring a visit to the dermatologist. With an assessment complete and a skin biopsy sent in, it was determined I had Systemic Lupus Erythematous. Being in school, I was prescribed prednisone to get me through finals before beginning a long term care plan.

However, it didn’t quite work out that way.

With an adverse reaction to the prednisone, I was taken to the Grey Nuns Hospital for 3 weeks before moving in with my parents in Saskatchewan. The prednisone reaction was so harsh I had to relearn a lot of basic life skills such as writing my name, holding utensils and bathing.

During this time the lupus had affected my lungs, heart and kidneys. I was in the Regina General Hospital for weeks until I was deemed stable enough to be released. In January 2008 I returned back home to Edmonton and by September I was on peritoneal dialysis and in need of a transplant.

Being a millennial, I half joking-half serious put the word out on social media “Any of my family or friends that are O+ want to spare a kidney?”. To my surprise many got tested and my cousin Shawn was the best matched! We went through months of work up and on the morning of February 8th, 2011 we were both headed for surgery.

His generous donation gave me a new life! 6 years later, with its own challenges, and an amazing team of doctors my fiancé Alex and I were able to start a family welcoming our baby girl to the world this May.

In sharing my journey with others, my hope is that I and inspire others going through peritoneal dialysis, kidney transplantation or starting a family.