This past fall, Syren ProStaffer Annemarie Garrett donated a kidney to her boyfriend, Brady. We are checking in with her on how she’s doing and what her plans are for the 2018 shooting season.
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LG: Tell me about you and Brady – how did you meet? How long have you been dating?
AG: Brady and I met at our local shooting club here in California, during a casual Sporting Clays tournament about 4 years ago. A couple of our mutual friends were already squadded with him at a travel tournament and had invited me to join, so I decided to introduce myself before we went. At the tournament the next month, we really hit it off and had so much to talk about, we even got hushed a couple times while our squad-mates were shooting … oops! From that day forward, we have filled each other’s lives with laughter, adventure and lots of shooting all across the country!
LG: Why did Brady need a kidney transplant?
AG: Brady sustained a pretty bad injury while racing cars several years ago, and for the better part of a year fought to keep his lower right leg. He ultimately lost his battle due to infection and had to have it amputated. While going through this ordeal, the antibiotics that were supposed to save his leg, killed his kidneys.
LG: In your wildest dreams, did you think you would be a kidney match for Brady?
AG: I had absolutely no idea. He spent 3 days a week in dialysis for 4 hours at a time and each time he got home, he was nauseas and exhausted. It basically wiped away his life. It was so hard to see the light fade in someone that was once so peppy and happy all the time, and I wanted to help in anyway I possibly could.
So about 3 months into his dialysis treatments, with almost no hope that there was any way to help Brady, I decided to give Cedar Sinai Hospital a call. They sent me to my local blood bank where they drew 20 vials of blood to check our compatibility. I left that center pretty despondent but continued on, and about 3 weeks later I got a call from Cedars saying we were a perfect match, which is almost unheard of! I thought very seriously about this decision for several weeks while I was going through the many physical and psychological tests at the hospital.
When I finally made my decision to go through with the transplant, I felt an instant sense of pride and excitement that I was going to be able to get Brady back the life he had before kidney failure. After I told Brady that I was indeed a match and wanted to go through with the surgery, he was very emotional and nervous about me going through the procedure. After we talked about it more extensively, we were both very excited about our surgery date on October 7, 2017.
LG: How has this changed your relationship?
AG: It is pretty cliché to say it has made us stronger, but honestly it did. Going through a very hard time as a couple, there were definitely struggles of many kinds, but we made it through. It really showed us who we were as strong individuals and more so who we were together as a couple. It really taught us that there is honestly nothing you can’t do, and that sacrificing for someone you love, or for something you really want, is an investment that will ultimately give you the best gift of happiness and fulfillment.
LG: How long did it take to get back to feeling 100%?
AG: I was only in the hospital for 1 day and then out of work for the remaining 3 weeks, I had some back pain afterward but that went a way a couple weeks after. In short it took about a month and a half.
LG: What are you plans for 2018 for shooting?
AG: For 2018 I am most excited to have my shooting partner back in business and we are planning on staying mostly on the West Coast to get reacclimated to shooting and being on the road again. On the books so far, we are going to the Ducks Unlimited shoot in Las Vegas in February at the Clark County Shooting Complex, the Western Sporting Clays Regional Championship in Quail Point, California, and the NSCA US Open in Tucson, Arizona – both in April and then in June, the California State Shoot at Camanche Hills Sporting Clays in Ione. There will, of course, also be lots of intermittent local shoots at our home club in Los Angeles/South El Monte, Triple B Clays.
LG: Are there any restrictions on what you can and can’t do?
AG: There are no restrictions for me that change how I lived my life prior. I can still go surfing every day, which makes me happy. The main things post-transplant are to watch my hydration – I need at least 2 liters of water a day – and also to watch my protein intake. Your kidneys break down protein, so too much puts a strain on a single organ doing the work for 2. Goodbye dreams of being an Olympic Body Builder.
LG: What would you tell someone that is thinking about donating a kidney?
AG: I would say never rush into it and take your time to make your own decision. Nobody can make you donate, and transplant centers are there to make sure that you are very ready to make the decision, or to face the receiver and help to tell them you do not want to donate.
It’s absolutely a huge decision that should never feel like a burden. Your decision could really help someone’s life, but at the end of the day, your life and mindset is what matters the most.
There are some serious risks with donating a kidney and, although rare, they must all be taken into consideration. I am very lucky that our surgery went smoothly and we are both healthy. I believe this is one of the most amazing opportunities that I have taken advantage of in my life and I feel only joy, pride and excitement when I think about my decision to save Brady’s life by gifting him a kidney.
Prior to becoming the Brand Manager for Syren, Lynne Green served as the Executive Director of Atlanta Charity Clays, disbursing more than $300,000 to local area children’s charities in 2016, bringing their total to over $4.3 million in 26 years. Most of her career has been spent as an IT Infrastructure Project Manager working on multi-million dollar projects such as merger/acquisitions, data center migrations, desktop deployments and outsourcing conversions for several Fortune 500 companies. View all posts by Lynne Green