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Gabrielle Cole

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My Mom was diagnosed with Polycystic Kidney Disease when I was a child.

PKD is characterized by the presence of multiple cysts- typically in both kidneys. The cysts are numerous and are fluid-filled, resulting in massive enlargement of the kidneys. The disease can also damage the liver, pancreas and, in some rare cases, the heart and brain. Polycystic kidney disease is one of the most common life-threatening genetic diseases, affecting an estimated 12.5 million people worldwide.

My Mom, Brenda, never let us believe that this disease was serious because she wanted us to enjoy our childhood. Little did I know, she had been given months to live if a transplant was not received. My Mom never gave up hope. She miraculously received a kidney in 2004 after being on the wait list for a short 2 months. In 2007 she was told her kidney rejected. I became very involved with my Mom's journey at this point and learned what I could about PKD. Fortunately, a very good family friend was a perfect match and she received her second transplant in 2008.

However, our journey with PKD will continue until we find a cure. Since 2006 my brother Sam has been diagnosed and will need a transplant. My brother Silas has been diagnosed and is at 12% kidney function. He will need a transplant within the year. My nephews, Aiden and Peyton (ages 2 & 3) were recently diagnosed after experiencing complications associated with PKD.

Over the years, information about PKD has become more concrete and treatments are now within reach. This has been made possible because of the brave families that are standing up and talking about how this affects them and because of the PKD Foundation.. I started volunteering for the PKD Foundation in 2011 and will continue to do so until there is a cure.

I am asking for your support because my vision is a world where ENTIRE families are not devastated by this horrific disease.

Together we can END PKD.
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