Alyna Waters, Donor Mentor

I really enjoy being outside and active – walking (lots of walking!), hiking, running, biking, kayaking, swimming or just lounging in a pool float in the ocean with a mystery (which is how I try to spend one week in the summer).  When I’m not outside you can find me cooking, reading or loom knitting.

My Service Dog, Isabelle, and I have fun doing a variety of dog sports such as agility, nose work, tricks, urban herding (treibball) and rally-o together, and she also accompanies me on all of the above activities, except for lounging in the pool float – she prefers fetching her ball from the ocean until one of us gets tired (usually me).

I’m passionate about animals, raising awareness about living donation and being kind and caring toward others.

Transplant story

My boyfriend, Alex, was diagnosed with PKD when he was 3 or 4 years old after he ended up in the hospital with a cyst that had burst.

When Alex and I met, I knew nothing about PKD or living donation but I soon learned that his mom had donated a kidney to his dad, about a year prior to having met them, and they were healthy, vibrant, active people and a wonderful example of what living donation looked like.

Fast forward about seven years – we are in a strong relationship and his kidney function is rapidly declining and I knew I wanted to be his donor, if I could.  I went through the process and I remember distinctly getting the news that I could be a donor and was a good match for him – what a relief and a joy!!!

It was easily one of the best decisions in my life.  It’s honestly difficult to find the words to convey what a wonderful feeling it is to be able to do something of that magnitude for someone.  It’s a gift I will treasure.

Here are the links to the 9News story done about our kidney transplant – filmed two days after surgery!

Why did you choose to be a mentor?

I chose to be a mentor because I can’t imagine not sharing knowledge that could be helpful to those considering donation.  It’s an important decision and having the resources of those who have gone through the process will hopefully be a benefit to you!  In addition, helping anyone, donor or recipient, through the transplant process would be a pleasure.

What is your involvement with ATF?  For how long have you been involved?

I first became involved with ATF when I heard about the mentor program from one of my boyfriend’s transplant doctors in August of 2013, almost exactly one month after our transplant operation, and felt connected to the organization right away.  They raise awareness, help people financially and honor those who make the process the best it can be – things I can totally get behind!

What about being a mentor appealed to you?

Being a mentor appealed to me because I enjoy helping people and this is an area where my experience allows me to do that.

Are you a donor mentor or transplant recipient mentor?

I am a kidney donor mentor but I am also willing to help mentor transplant recipients because my boyfriend (my recipient!) wanted my support throughout his transplant process, so I’ve been present at nearly all of his appointments for the last few years, pre and post-transplant, seeing the process from both sides.

Fun Facts:

  • Favorite food(s)? Who has just one? Avocado and Strawberries but really just about any fruit, veggie, nut or seed excite me!
  • Favorite or Dream Vacation? Anywhere with water…hotel with a nice pool or swimable beach would be among my faves!
  • Favorite Band? Simon & Garfunkel but Henryk Górecki’s Symphony No. 3 is one of my favorite pieces of music and I always am moved by Pavarotti’s performance of Nessun Dorma.
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