Janella Bryant was the mother of four young children, engaged to be married, and working at Albany Medical Center while also attending college when she suddenly began having severe back pain. Noticing blood in her urine, she visited a urologist who diagnosed her with nephritis, explaining that she would likely need dialysis in the future. He assured her that her disorder was slow to progress and she shouldn’t expect to need dialysis for years.
“I went from being a completely healthy person
to having kidney disease, just like that.”
Despite her doctor’s assurance, it was less than a year later when Janella found herself in kidney failure, forcing her to begin hemodialysis – requiring a time commitment of three times a week for up to five hours a day. This presented a huge burden to a working mother of four who was also in school, and due to her health complications she was forced to put her life on hold, withdrawing from classes and leaving her job.
Shortly after beginning dialysis, Janella received another shocking and life-changing blow. Her fiancé died suddenly and unexpectedly. Because of her own failing health, she worried more than ever about leaving her children behind. Janella’s love for her children motivated her to continue enduring dialysis treatments for the next four and a half years – treatments that caused her terrible side effects like shaking, chills, cramps, and even seizures.
“I feared all the time. What if something happened to me? What would happen to my kids?”
After six grueling years, on July 19, 2014, Janella finally received a kidney transplant. Her life was saved thanks to the generosity of a deceased donor and their family. Following her recovery, Janella returned to school, honoring her donor by graduating with a bachelor’s degree in nursing in 2017. She is now a registered nurse and is focusing on keeping her new kidney healthy so she can stay with her four children for a very long time. She has become a staunch advocate for donation, and tells her story so people understand that “this can happen to anyone.”