Ann Arbor kidney disease survivor carries on the torch for others
Ann Arbor resident Nicole Bryant knows she's lucky to be alive.
When she was just 17, Bryant, now 35, was diagnosed with Goodpasture’s syndrome - a very rare and aggressive auto- immune disorder that creates flu-like symptoms while mercilessly attacking the kidneys of its victims.
When she was diagnosed, Bryant was told she would only have three days to live.
“At the time that I went into the ER, I was told that I had three days left of life, and dialysis kicked in immediately,” Bryant said. “That was kind of hard at first - being such a young person, going through this experience and not knowing anything about dialysis."
On Sunday, Sept. 13, Bryant and dozens of others like her will gather at Gallup Park for the Ann Arbor/Brighton Kidney Walk - an event that helps support the victims of kidney disease and, in Bryant’s words, demonstrates to others the importance of the work led by the National Kidney Foundation.
“Looking at someone like myself, you wouldn’t think that I’m someone who went through what I went through, and that’s the whole point of this event,” she said. “We want to show where these dollars are going - looking at people like myself, you can see that organ and tissue donation is very beneficial.”
Bryant said the experience has changed her into the person she is today. She has plans to graduate from Eastern Michigan University, become a social worker, and focus on people who have kidney disease.
Bryant is already fighting to help others who have found themselves in her shoes. She's been a peer mentor for the National Kidney Foundation for 10 years.
“I started out going through a training course that allowed me, as a patient, to sit with another patient that’s on dialysis," she said. "It kind of makes their run a little bit better if they can interact with someone in their same situation.”
Emma Richardson is a freelance writer for AnnArbor.com. Reach our news desk at firstname.lastname@example.org or 734-623-2530.