Randy Fleet – ReMend Mentor

Transplant Recipient’s Story Of Inspiration

I ran 10 marathons in five of the fifty states. I also ran 30 half marathons.

My Goal: To run a marathon in all fifty states.

I’m running for pure enjoyment, but it’s more than just me. I run to inspire others with kidney failure. I want to give them hope and show that kidney failure doesn’t mean your life is over. I run to promote organ donation. There are currently over 120,000 patients in the America that are waiting for that life-saving organ. By just encouraging one person to register can save up to eight lives.

I am just weeks away from the five year anniversary of my kidney transplant and I am very proud of my post-transplant accomplishments. So far I ran 10 marathons and 30 half marathons. I completed a marathon in five of the fifty states. I’m going to continue plugging away at each state, saving Massachusetts as the final state. I want to close out this incredible journey by running the Boston Marathon.

My name is Randy Fleet and I am a ReMend mentor. I received the life-saving gift from my brother on November 25, 2009. I am forever grateful for his selfless act. I feel I owe it to him to make the most of my life and to help others that are coping with kidney failure.

After dealing with several illnesses over a nine month period, I finally had enough and made an appointment with my doctor. Blood tests revealed that I had end stage renal disease and I needed dialysis immediately in order to survive. At 36 years old, my life was turned upside down with those four words, “You have kidney failure.” I was in complete shock. I couldn’t believe what I just heard. This cannot be right. I’m too young to have kidney failure. I was in denial and I was very depressed.

About twelve hours after learning that I had kidney failure, I was receiving my first dialysis treatment. Being tied to that dialysis machine was very depressing. I remember thinking that my life was over. I thought I hit the end of the road. Two days later, while still in the hospital, I received my second dialysis treatment. During that treatment, I realized that I needed to make a decision. I can either continue to feel sorry for myself, or I can accept my illness and do everything I can to remain healthy. I chose to accept my illness. This is my new life and I need to make the best of it.

Randy-Dialysis

This is me during my second dialysis treatment when I came to accept my illness.

After I was discharged from the hospital, I spent four months on in-center hemodialysis. Four hours per session, three days a week. I had my ups and downs, but I never let it bring me down.   I knew that dialysis was better than the alternative. After four months of hemodialysis, I switched to home peritoneal dialysis. This gave me more freedom to live a fuller life, and it gave me better control over my health. My ups and downs became less frequent and less dramatic. I felt much better! During my time on dialysis, donor testing was being conducted on friends and family members that offered to donate a kidney to me. Seven months after starting dialysis, a match was found. My brother, Dustin was selected to be my kidney donor.

We had a successful kidney transplant surgery on November 25, 2009, just nine months after I learned the devastating news that I had kidney failure. Dustin gave me a second chance at life and I was ready to make the most of it. During my stay in the hospital after the transplant, I had a conversation with the surgeon about the average life of a kidney. He mentioned that I can get 20 years out of my transplanted kidney. That gave me the motivation to create a 20-item bucket list. I created a bucket list of things that I always wanted to do. Now that I have a second chance at life, I want to make sure that I do at least one thing off my bucket list every year.

Randy-transplant

Moments after I awoke from the surgery, Dustin, my donor was in my room to check on me. I was relieved to see him walking just hours after surgery.

Eight months after my transplant, I marked the first item off my bucket list when I hiked to the top of Mount Whitney (14,495 ft.). It’s the highest mountain peak in the lower 48 states. The day that I returned from my hiking trip, I reviewed my bucket list and decided on my next mission, to run a marathon. I went right out and bought a pair of running shoes. Six months after Whitney, I ran my first half marathon. Now it’s time to train for a full marathon. During my marathon training, I fell love with running. It became much more than just training to run a marathon. It became a passion. Running made me feel alive. I ran my first full marathon in Seattle on the three year anniversary of my transplant.

Randy-Marathon

I ran my first marathon on the three year anniversary of my transplant.

After marking the marathon off my bucket list, I wasn’t ready to quit running. I don’t think I will ever quit running. So I decided to up the ante and run a marathon in all fifty states. I’m running for pure enjoyment, but it’s more than just me. I run to inspire others with kidney failure. I want to give them hope and show that kidney failure doesn’t mean your life is over. I run to promote organ donation. There are currently over 120,000 patients in the America that are waiting for that life-saving organ. By just encouraging one person to register can save up to eight lives.

I am just weeks away from the five year anniversary of my kidney transplant and I am very proud of my post-transplant accomplishments. So far I ran 10 marathons and 30 half marathons. I completed a marathon in five of the fifty states. I’m going to continue plugging away at each state, saving Massachusetts as the final state. I want to close out this incredible journey by running the Boston Marathon.

I am honored to be part of the ReMend Organization. I work with an amazing group of kidney patients that want to provide hope and encouragement to others that may be struggling with kidney failure. Whether it’s coping with the ups and downs of dialysis or going through the transplant process, we are here to share our experiences and answer questions about kidney failure.

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