Organ failure affects everyone when a family member is waiting for a transplant. Such was the case for Raymark, whose has a father suffering from Kidney disease and waiting for a kidney transplant.
In light of his father’s obstacles, Raymark still views life positively “Life is a long but beautiful journey filled with many different challenges. These challenges may be so difficult at times that some people feel like giving up…” He believes in positive thinking and continues with “…I think that if we have a little bit of optimism and hope then we can view these challenges not as drawbacks in life, rather, as great opportunities to learn and grow as individuals. My journey in life is only beginning and I know that there will be more obstacles that I will have to face and many more lessons that I need to learn.”
Just like Raymark’s father, many people suffering with Kidney disease are ordinary, hardworking people. “He has worked hard for our family and has made many sacrifices to ensure our well-being…it’s just not fair” he explains.
Raymark has noticed changes in his father ever since his father was diagnosed with Kidney disease ten years ago. Raymark explains that “Gradually, his kidney function decreased through the years and I could see his overall quality of life decreasing as well.” It is difficult to see a father struggling. Raymark continues to reveal his feelings, “after finding out he needed to go on dialysis…I felt that I had finally hit rock bottom. The stress from university, work and life had all accumulated. I felt as though I was going through this alone and no one else could actually relate to my situation. There were so many questions going through my mind about school, my father’s health and my life in general.”
Even though Raymark is next to exhausted from all of the stress, he continues helping his mom with meals, and tutoring his twelve year old brother in school. Raymark describes the situation as being a rollercoaster ride.
“At times I felt that the stress was too much to bear.” Raymark explains. So when asked, what gives you strength to get through it all? He explains “…seeing my father stay strong throughout this whole ordeal gave me hope. I felt as though he unknowingly gave me strength to carry on. It was then that I realized that this was just another challenge in our lives. At first I viewed this challenge as something that we could not overcome. Slowly but surely, our hope gained momentum.”
Raymark and had to adjust to the new life style that kidney disease brings. He and his family have had to make some lifestyle changes, and adapt to their father’s schedule.
Raymark is bringing awareness and creating momentum for Kidney disease by being honest and expressing his feelings so others can benefit “in the meantime, my friend and I created a Kidney Foundation group at our university to help promote and raise awareness about various kidney diseases and the living donor program. It has been an amazing experience to talk to others affected with kidney disease and individuals that have had a kidney transplant before. Talking to them has been comforting and reassuring because I felt that they understand and can relate to my experiences. They have been helpful in answering my questions and sharing their stories with me. I believe that knowing there are others with similar stories and experiences has helped me with my journey. This challenge in my life has helped me grow as a person and has taught me many valuable lessons.”
Raymark was able to provide the most precious gift to his father, after testing, he was a match and became a living kidney donor for his father! They are both doing great and feel very blessed to continue their life journey together.