Patient Story #4 - LaVise McCray

Patient Story #4 - LaVise McCray

My name is LaVise, a 44-year-old transplant survivor, Caldwell University graduate, and a retired special education teacher from Jersey City Public Schools. My journey through organ transplantation is a testament to hope, resilience, and the power of community support. In June 2015, my life took a sharp turn when I was diagnosed with End-Stage Renal Disease. Facing this new reality, I adopted a positive attitude, determined to fight and never give up. Adjusting to dialysis was a six-week challenge, but I decided to continue working as a special education teacher, completing my dialysis treatments at night. Despite a positive start, my journey faced setbacks with my first fistula getting infected and my second one rupturing, leading me to Hackensack University Medical Center for a transplant evaluation—a decision that marked one of the best turns in my journey. After being accepted onto the transplant list, I faced more hurdles, including retiring due to Steel Syndrome, which compromised my right hand's function. Through determination and three months of therapy, I regained full hand function. My care team at Hackensack noticed a shift in my demeanor, recommending counseling, which reignited my fighting spirit.

My support system was incredible, consisting of family, friends, and strangers moved by my story. Despite the exemplary care from my medical teams at HUMC and New Jersey Kidney Care, 2022 brought severe challenges: a stop in my ability to walk, a battle with COVID and suspected internal bleeding leading to ICU stays, and unsuccessful attempts to restart peritoneal dialysis. In February 2023, I met with Dr. Michael J. Goldstein, who, after reviewing my complex case, placed me on a medically necessary transplant list. Just days after being placed on the list, I received a call that would change my life, my kidney was ready. On March 25, 2023, I underwent a successful transplantation, a moment made possible by faith and the prayers of many.

Since then, I've dedicated myself to giving back, becoming a volunteer with NJ Sharing Network, a dialysis mentor, a Champion Ambassador for Transplantlyfe Forum, and starting Hope Visionary, Inc. My journey is one of overcoming adversity, embracing community support, and being a beacon of hope for others facing similar battles. I hope my story inspires others to consider becoming donor heroes, offering a second chance at life to those in need. I hope The Kidney Project will become a reality soon where more people like me can get those second chances.

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