How a Child Gave Me the Best Christmas Gift of My Life


Last Monday, The Call came at 3 a.m.

Laura at the UC Davis Transplant Center was offering me a possible match: two kidneys from a pediatric donor.  Meaning that the kidneys came from a child under the age of twelve.

I felt both sad and joyous.  A family lost this child right before Christmas.  Yet, they were able to be so kind, compassionate and generous during this time of great sorrow.  After watching their child pass away, they immediately donated the child’s organs.

I immediately accepted the offer.  Me and Mister Jack rushed to the UCD Medical Center in Sacramento.  I went through six hours of surgery.  The child’s gift of life was given to me two days before Christmas.

In 2011, I was diagnosed with Stage Five Kidney Disease.  Months later, after interviews and screening, I was placed on the UCD Transplant List.  Although staff were positive about me getting a kidney transplant, I figured I’d get a kidney in seven years.  I could not deny it.  My kidneys were slowly failing, so I planned on doing home dialysis for years. 

Although this kidney transplant came way ahead of schedule, it is something I can truly live with!  I have six months of recovery ahead of me, but the results will be worth it.  As long as I take good care of my new kidneys, they will last me at least 25 years.  

I am so grateful for what this child and his family has done for me.  I am also grateful for the love, support and prayers from family and friends.  Words cannot even describe the UC Davis Transplant Team.  As one of the top transplant programs in the nation, I personally got to see them in action.  The excellent care from nurses, social workers, pharmacists, doctors, dieticians, professors, and surgeons made me feel confident about the surgery and the healing process.

Once I am fully healed, my husband and I look forward to traveling. 

Illness can be a positive thing.  I’ve learned not to waste my time on negative thoughts or people.  I work at being a good person.  Right now, my main goal is to give back to the UC Davis Transplant Program.  Starting today.  I think this is the best way for me to welcome the New Year and my second chance at life.

Please consider giving the gift of life or donating to your nearest transplant program.

Happy New Year!








  1. susanzutautas · January 3, 2014

    This is wonderful news! I’m so happy for you and wish you a speedy recovery. Sending you hugs.

    • Arlene Poma · January 4, 2014

      Thank you so much, Susan. I am enjoying your writing. Please keep up your writing pace because my recovery will take at least six months. Under doctor’s orders, I cannot garden or go to restaurants. Because of the threat of flu and other bugs, I wear a mask everywhere. I communicate through phone calls. I don’t mind being home, but good writing and photography is the best medicine for me. Happy New Year to you and your loved ones. Thanks again!

    • Arlene Poma · January 5, 2014

      Susan, I am hugging you back!!! Thank you so much for your comment.

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