Stories of Hope

Sejal, kidney and pancreas recipient

When Sejal graduated from medical school and was preparing to enter residency, she suddenly found herself in need of a lifesaving kidney transplant.

After being diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes at 10 years old, Sejal learned to manage her disease by monitoring her food intake and insulin levels and used an insulin pump to help. After finishing medical school, Sejal moved back home to Arizona, where she planned to continue her career. Shortly after moving, Sejal began feeling dizzy and weak and made an appointment with her doctor to check it out. Some preliminary testing revealed her blood count was low, and Sejal’s kidney function had declined. Sejal immediately underwent a kidney biopsy and was diagnosed with stage 5 kidney failure. Her only hope for recovery was a kidney transplant.

Sejal’s First “Second Chance”

Sejal was sent to the Mayo Clinic in Arizona and listed for a multi-organ transplant to receive a kidney and a pancreas, which would cure her Type 1 Diabetes. After 9 months on the transplant waiting list, Sejal received a lifesaving kidney-pancreas transplant thanks to the generosity of a donor.

After her transplants, Sejal’s life was dramatically different. She was also able to enjoy food she hadn’t been able to eat before due to her diabetes and was less limited in the clothing she could wear without an insulin pump to worry about. Sejal also had the freedom to work out without worrying about her blood sugar, and the dizziness and weakness she’d felt were completely gone. She was able to continue her medical career, and see her niece and nephew born and grow up. Sejal felt like a new person.

Another Selfless Gift

In 2018, Sejal’s kidney numbers began to change, and her physician recommended she prepare for another kidney transplant. Over time, her rejection medication had caused irreversible scarring in her kidney, which resulted in a decline in kidney function. Sejal began preparing to start dialysis at home while she waited for a transplant so she could work during the day and take care of her health. Unfortunately, Sejal unexpectedly became infected with valley fever, which damaged any remaining kidney function. In order to save her life, Sejal began emergency dialysis in the hospital and remained on dialysis for about 10 months.

In November 2021, Sejal got the call that a kidney was available, one day short of the twelve-year anniversary of her first transplant.

“I think about how every day, I am alive, and I am here because of my donors,” she says. “They allowed me to be here and gave me a second and third chance at life.”

After her second transplant, Sejal continued her medical career with a focus in transplant medicine. She is passionate about helping transplant patients live longer and healthier lives and views her career as an opportunity to give back after receiving her own lifesaving gifts. The selfless gift of her donors changed Sejal’s worldview, and she knows never to take anything for granted and to allow their legacy to live on through her.