Darla donated a kidney to her son, Tyler. Both will walk to raise kidney disease awareness at the Dallas Kidney Walk.
Giving life to your child is an opportunity that comes once for most mothers; for Fort Worth resident Darla, it’s a calling that came twice.
As a teenager, her son Tyler was an active student into fitness and football. Despite being a vigilant mother, Darla never realized that Tyler was affected by kidney disease.
“He had blood pressure problems as a teenager,” said Darla. “But I never knew that high blood pressure is an indication of kidney disease.”
Tyler started getting seriously sick in 2010, with headaches and skyrocketing blood pressure. When he went to the emergency room, doctors said they didn’t know how he was still walking — Tyler’s kidneys had failed. He was placed on dialysis for survival.
“It sucked having to get my blood filtered three times a week,” Tyler said. “You were always tired and didn’t have time to do anything you wanted to do, or eat anything you wanted to eat.”
They began the process of putting Tyler on the organ wait list, a system that can take years to fulfill a person’s need for an organ. But Darla trumped the system by offering up one of her own kidneys to save her son.
“When they found out I was a match, I was so happy that I could give him my kidney,” said Darla. “I just wanted them to hurry up. I was afraid he wasn’t going to make it.”
Now, both fully recovered, Darla and Tyler have been profoundly changed by the organ donation experience.
“I have a second chance at life,” said Tyler. “I don’t take anything for granted now — everything is special, my wife, my kids, everything I have is a blessing.”
Throughout the ordeal, the family used information provided by the National Kidney Foundation to learn more about kidney disease, kidney failure, and dialysis. Now they are looking to give back.
“I am a kidney patient and a transplant patient and I want to help spread the word about organ donation,” said Tyler. “I still go back and visit the people at the dialysis clinic. There is a lot of fear and worry surrounding transplants. People just don’t know how awesome it is.”
Tyler and his mother also participate in the Dallas Kidney Walk to show their support.
“Kidney disease and organ donation is such a big part of our lives now,” Darla said. “By walking we can support research and prevention, which will help others like us in the future.”