My Kidney Donation Story: Kayla Bolling
My family has hereditary polycystic kidney disease. My mother has it, also my grandfather, three of my aunts and uncles, one cousin, and my little sister—that’s who we know of so far.
I was lucky to be one of the ones that did not inherit the disease, and I have known for a long time that I would want to do something like this. I’ve always been a huge activist for donation—in college I wrote essays and was in debates trying to convince people to become a donor.
When I was 8 years old, my grandfather, who was an inspiration and like a father to me, received his life-saving kidney donation from a deceased donor. We were so grateful to that family for choosing to donate—it gave my grandfather 20 more years to be with us.
Then it came time when my mother needed a kidney. She was an active travel nurse but she had to quit that to go on dialysis. Last year I decided to donate. We don’t have the same blood type, so I donated through the Voucher Program. I donated on December 14, 2022, and I feel completely back to normal. It took a good six weeks.
I did not know who my kidney went to, but about two weeks after my donation I was given his email address and I was able to email him. He is doing great, and his wife is in the process of donating as well. Overall it has been a very inspiring story.
I heard about Donor Shield through my social worker at my transplant center, the University of Kentucky. I was concerned because I am a kindergarten teacher and I knew that I would have to take several weeks off of school for my surgery, then my mom would be getting her surgery and I would have to take more days off for that. I didn’t want to have to take all my days off. Because of Donor Shield, I was able to keep all my days off, which really helped because I knew I would need my days so I could help my mother with her surgery and recovery process.
I received reimbursement for four weeks of lost wages through Donor Shield. It was extremely easy. I just told them when I would be out and they approved it though my donation center. They also reimbursed me for my travel, which is huge because I am five hours from the transplant center, so they paid my gas mileage. We had to get a hotel and they also paid for my lodging. And they paid for my mother’s lodging when I was in the hospital getting my surgery, too. Donor Shield has been such a blessing.
If you have a friend or family member in need of a kidney and you are not a match, BE A NON-DIRECTED DONOR and give them the voucher! You will not only save their life, but also the person who receives your kidney. If you don’t know anyone in need of a kidney, consider donating and being a hero. It’s a good feeling to carry with you.
About the Author
Kayla Bolling is mother to a wonderful little boy named Easton. She lives in a small town in Virginia with her partner, Tim, and is a kindergarten teacher and varsity cheerleading coach.
She enjoys spending time with her mother, sister and family. She also enjoys traveling and working with children in her community.
She hopes to inspire and encourage others to give life by becoming organ donors.