Kidney Transplant Recipient: "I Look At Life Differently Now"

12:05 AM, Dec 4, 2012   |    comments
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Mebane, NC -- If you had another chance at life, would you do anything different? Would you look at life differently?

One Triad woman has.

Last fall, Shari Vassello started her search for a living kidney donor on Facebook. Vassello suffered from Polycystic Kidney Disease. With each day, she was one step closer to dialysis.

Vassello didn't find a donor on Facebook. But in August, she got a call from the kidney transplant list...there was a kidney waiting for her.

Vassello's recovery has been nothing short of miraculous.

Less than four months after her transplant, she was back in action, exceeding even doctors' expectations.

Vassello said she didn't just get a new kidney, she got a new life.

"The things I can do now! I exercise 45 minutes a day. I'm cooking dinner for my family. I'm running errands. These are things I couldn't do before. I just didn't have the energy," said Vassello. "I'm reborn."

For Vassello, heading back to work was something to celebrate. She was just as excited as the children at the Mebane Public Library were to see her.

"I look at life differently now," she said.

Vassello knows she's been given an incredible gift. At 50 years old, she has a kidney of a 20-year-old.

"I think about the family because the person did pass away to give me the organ. And I pray for them every day. And I'm just eternally grateful to them that they had the forethought to donate those organs to help somebody else," said Vassello. "And they didn't just help me, they helped somebody else. There were two kidneys, so somebody else was saved too."

Her new kidney didn't only bring a new life, but also life lessons that we can all learn.

"I've got a whole new perspective on life; taking each day as it comes and appreciating what I have in my life and the people I have in my life. I found that those little nitty gritty things don't really matter anymore. It's all about your family and your friends...and it's a great thing," said Vassello.

Vassello is still on a lot of medicines, but her doctors are slowly weaning her off of them.

Vassello said she now has two birthdays -- her real birthday and Aug. 17, the day she received her new kidney.

As for her Facebook page, which she initially set up to find a living donor, she's now using it to tell stories of other people in need of transplants and to get the word out about how important it is to be an organ donor.

WFMY News 2

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