Janet Rost, Donor Mentor

Tell us your transplant story.

I was in a near-fatal car accident in 1980 and received blood that was infected with Hepatitis C.  I didn’t even discover I had the disease until 20 years later, and until just this year, HepC has been incurable.  I was able to keep my liver going for another 14 years until suddenly I found myself in end stage liver disease.  My health became so critical that at the end of April, 2012, I had less than a 30% chance of living through the summer.  I went from being active and pretty healthy to hearing a doctor tell me and my husband to do my bucket list, and do it fast!  After five hospital stays from January to May, 2012, I received ‘that phone call’ telling me the hospital had a liver that would be perfect for me.  I’ve had an incredible recovery and every day I wake up thankful that I got a second chance and each and every day is a bonus!

What do you do for a living?

I am a Petroleum Landman (I research who owns minerals, negotiate leases for drilling, cure title, perform due diligence for purchase/sales of oil and gas properties). I am self-employed and love my freedom and what my work enables me to do.

What do you do for fun?

I enjoy going to plays, concerts (especially outdoors and free ones!), entertaining friends and family, road biking.

What are your hobbies?

Knitting, gardening, gourmet cooking.

How do you stay active?

I try to ride my bike for at least 10 miles every day the temperature is over 60.  I garden, and in the cold months, I have my bike on a trainer in my house.  I love how I feel when I’m able to exercise and am super happy to be able to do this again since my transplant.

What are your passions?

My biggest passion is spreading the need for organs since my life was saved by a life-saving organ.  My life goal is now seeing the day when nobody dies waiting for a life saving organ.  I’m passionate about being healthy and helping others.

Why did you choose to be a mentor?

When I found out I needed a liver transplant, it was the scariest thing I have ever faced.  The hardest part of  my journey was facing that fear alone with my husband.  I would have loved having the opportunity to have support from someone who had been through the journey, someone who had actually experienced what I was facing, someone to reassure me that people come out of this so well.

What about being a mentor appealed to you?

This feeds into my passion for helping others.  I love helping future recipients, and their families walk that scary road and be a source of comfort and advice.  I have also helped make sense of some of the things the doctors and transplant teams tell you when you are on the recipient side of the equation.

Are you a donor mentor or transplant recipient’s mentor?

Since I am a recipient and know that side intimately, I am best suited to assisting recipients, however, I can and have shared with future donors how truly wonderful it is having your life saved by a their unselfish act of giving.

Anything else you want to tell us about yourself?

I have a wonderful husband, an awesome son and twin step-daughters.  I love family and friends and try to enjoy life to its fullest.  I’m a successful business owner and am incredibly lucky to have a chance to continue being productive for a long time.

This has to be the hardest question… I love to laugh and make others laugh with me.  Both my parents had great senses of humor and I feel like if you can’t laugh, life isn’t worth living!

Fun Facts:

  • Favorite Sports Team? Who can be from Denver and not love the Broncos, the Rockies or the Av’s?
  • Favorite Food? Anything hot and spicy from Mexican, Thai, Moroccan, to Cajun.  I grew up on the Gulf Coast so seafood is high on my list!
  • Favorite or Dream vacation? Travelling in Europe and experiencing other cultures.
  • Favorite Movie? I don’t have a favorite, but I love a good action/spy thriller, a light comedy or an occasional chick flick.
  • Favorite Band? Being a child of the ‘60s, I love a variety of rock and roll, jazz, classical, and even some country.  I went to college in Austin, Texas where there was always good music playing somewhere.  Life should always have good music.
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