According to the National Kidney Foundation, "Average life expectancy on Dialysis is 5-10 years." That is why the 30 year Dialysis patient, Sherri Peres of Atlanta, Georgia is so inspiring. After coming down with Pneumonia at age 15, Sherri was diagnosed with Kidney Disease due to a birth defect known as Dysplasia, which caused her kidneys to never fully develop, and at age 17 she began her lifelong journey on Dialysis.
You may ask, "Why doesn't she just get a Kidney Transplant?" Well, as most Dialysis patients know: It is not that easy. Although Sherri received a Kidney Transplant in 1985, it did not last a year, and she has been on the Kidney Transplant Waiting List ever since.
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Forever a trailblazer, Sherri has not let the disappointment of conducting Dialysis for 30 years, the loss of her Kidney Transplant or excessive wait times slow her down. Sherri is a wife, proud mother to a 21 year old daughter and a 13 year old son, she studied Culinary Arts in college, was a manager of Domino's Pizza, and now serves as an inspiration and model to other Dialysis patients who may consider giving up because they think that Dialysis is "the end of the road."
Sherri appears to lead a full life. "He’s growing up too fast," she said while gushing about keeping up with her son who plays both basketball and soccer. Peres mentioned, “I believe you just have to do what you have to. I’ve had that attitude my whole life – you can’t give up.”
Fortunately she is not alone. Many Chronic Kidney Disease and Dialysis patients may be surprised to learn that Sherri is not the longest person to ever live on Dialysis. Gary Pettus (University of Mississippi), reported that Martha Patrick was "one of the longest surviving patients in the world" after 40 years on Dialysis. Similarly, the 2014 Pulitzer Prize Winning publication, Guardian, highlighted Patricia LeBlack's story of 39 years of continuous Dialysis. "I can't imagine not sharing my life with this machine," LeBlack noted.
Even the Founder of KidneyBuzz.com, Mark A. Fields, has been successful being on Dialysis for 16 years. Hence, long-term success on Dialysis is achievable.
Now Sherri is considering writing a book which educates other patients how to best approach life on Dialysis. Ultimately, Sherri said that she just wants to "help people, because so many people have helped me." Well, sharing her personal story is one big step toward that grand objective.
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