GOOD NEWS! Tarra received a kidney from an anonymous living donor on January 15, 2015. She continues to do well!
Hi. My name is Tarra. I’m 33 years old and from Frankford, New Jersey, where I’ve lived all my life.
Until about 3 years ago, I worked as a day program instructor with autistic adults. I loved my clients and helping them improve their daily living skills. I was also on the dean's list in a medical technician program, and looking forward to a career in medical processing. Unfortunately, kidney disease forced me to leave both my job and my schooling.
I've been diabetic since I was 13 years old. I never had problems with my disease until age 21, when I became very ill with diabetic keytone acidosis (extremely high blood sugar). I didn’t know what was happening, but I knew something was not right. A friend took me to my parents’ home, where my mother recognized that something was dreadfully wrong and rushed me to the hospital.
I briefly remember walking into the hospital before slipping into a coma. I woke up 3 days later in the ICU on a ventilator, with wires and machines everywhere. Doctors gave me a 10% chance of surviving, but I pulled through.
As is common, diabetes caused a rapid decrease in my kidney functioning, resulting in chronic kidney disease. When my kidney functioning dropped to less then 10%, we started discussing dialysis. I was scared to death! Devastated. Last March, I had a catheter surgically inserted into my abdomen, and I now rely on dyalisis to keep me alive. But it’s no way to live. Dialysis is tough: It takes a toll on my body, wears me down, and can cause a host of other medical problems.
There’s so much in life I want to do and experience. I'd like to return to school and pursue work as an EKG technician. I just want to live!!!
I am blood type O and can receive a kidney from anyone of the same type. However, St. Barnabas Medical Center, where I've been on the waiting list nearly 2 years, participates in paired and chain exchanges, meaning that anyone of any blood type can donate.
If you would like to consider sharing your spare kidney (we need only one to live) with me, please call my Donor Coordinator, Donna Walton, at St. Barnabas in Livingston NJ at (973) 322-5047. Or, you can e-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
You may also contact me personally, if you wish, by visiting my Facebook page, Shining Strong for Tarra.
NJ.com, New Jersey's largest website for local news, recently wrote a story about my search, and my local newspaper, The New Jersey Herald, has written 6 news articles about me. You can find the most recent ones on the following 2 pages.
Thanks for taking the time to read my story. Please share it with others.
(Click here to read news article.)
My friends Alyson, Danielle, Ali, and I enjoy spending time together.
I may tower above my mom in stature, but she and my stepfather certainly have stood tall and stuck by my side through every step of my long ordeal. I don't know what I'd do without them.
Dutchess, my baby girl, helps me get through the hard times, too.