Andrea S. Pontiac, Michigan
Andrea has become captivated in the world of photography, recording the special moments in the lives of others. Her passion was inspired by the gifts of a kidney donation from her mother and a pancreas, which came from a stranger.
Many people have no idea how devastating diabetes can be, but Andrea knows. She not only felt what it was doing to her body, she saw what it was doing to her life and career. “By the age of nine, I was diagnosed with Type-I diabetes and by the time I turned 19, I was administering my own dialysis.” Two years later, her mother Jerry Clark – the only relative of her immediate family who was compatible --donated a kidney to Andrea; then in 2005 Andrea received her second transplant, a pancreas. “Most people are not aware of pancreas transplantation. As a Transplant Social Worker at Harper Hospital, I evaluate individuals awaiting a kidney or pancreas transplant. I encourage and educate these patients as to what they need to do to keep their organs working as well as providing them and their family social support. I know what they are going through, because I’ve been through it myself.” Andrea’s own situation and health guided her to a career in health care. Before receiving her transplants, she was a journalism major at Wayne State University, but her health forced her to drop out of school and work, and eventually she had to go on disability. “My life now is so different. I work full time, am a member of some professional clubs, love photography and enjoy music and movies. I’ve been given a gift. I am always giving out Michigan Organ Donor Registry Brochures. I know that once I’m gone I don’t need my organs where I’m going. I can tell people why it’s so important to leave their organs so others can live a better quality of life. I know, I’m living proof.”
Kidney and Pancreas Recipient