My name is Bruce Tippets and a kidney donation saved my life. I’m headed to the National Kidney Foundation Summit in D.C. for the second straight year, which is different from last year because I am no longer tethered to a dialysis machine. I was in dire need of a kidney transplant.
That was my life for four years before finally making it on the organ donor list last March. I was lucky, I only had to wait for six months before I got “the call” from University of Utah. Some people have to wait years and others never get the call.
This year the Summit is on March 4th and 5th. More than 100 advocates from kidney organizations around the country will converge on Capitol Hill to “Inspire Change for Kidney Disease.” We will meet with lawmakers and put a human face on kidney disease. I will be one of them. My goal is to talk to as many lawmakers as I can and share my story.
I’m better prepared this year. I’ve been studying up on the issues that we will be talking about when we visit with them. The biggest thing I want to accomplish this year…it’s to make a difference. I believe that if I can get a kidney then other people can too.
I’ve always been the underdog my whole life (being 5-foot-5 kind of does that to a person). I want people to understand the importance of getting off dialysis and getting a kidney transplant.
My father, Dennis Tippets, was a Wyoming state legislator for eight years. I’ve been around lawmakers my whole life so I want to take that knowledge and share my kidney story with as many people as I can.
I feel so blessed to have had a kidney donation that I believe speaking up is one of the many ways that I can give back. I have lots of respect for organ, eye and tissue donors because without them, I would still be on the transplant list.
I’m feeling good right now. My white blood cell count was a little low, so I had to get six infusion shots to get them back up to normal. I try to walk 10,000 steps or four miles, at least every other day at my local rec center. Life is good and I’m so grateful to have received a kidney transplant. Now it’s my turn to give back. I’m headed to D.C. to ensure others get an opportunity to receive the gift of life I was lucky to get!