My Life as a Transplant Recipient

By: Allison Sklarew

Eleven years ago this month, a four-year-old girl was about to be wheeled into the hospital room for a transplant. Although she didn’t understand it yet, she was getting a life-saving surgery. She got a quick kiss on her cheek by her parents and entered the room. She fell under a deep sleep as the doctors performed her surgery.

Afterward, she had a “kinda big scar on her tummy.” She was so happy to get this transplant and leave the hospital after waiting 45 days. She was excited to play with her friends again. Before the transplant, she was too weak and often watched and wondered why she couldn’t run with them. 

The girl had to take many medications after she left the hospital, and still has to take many today. She used to take terrible tasting medicine in syringes without a complaint, and then went back to what she was doing. She must take anti-rejection medicines that stop her body from rejecting her new heart.

All her life, she’s gotten frequent checkups and always will.  She sometimes goes back to Pittsburgh, where she had her surgery for more intense check ups like biopsies and catheterizations. She gets sick a lot and easily because her anti-rejection medicine lowers her immune system.

She goes to school like a normal kid. She plays on sports teams and hangs out with friends. She can pretty much do anything, but sometimes has to be careful and think about what is best for her heart.

During middle school, she volunteered and earned 182 hours of community service working at a food bank and at local camps. She enjoys volunteering and likes to take what she has been through to help others.

The girl doesn’t mind telling people about her transplant. She is used to what she goes through and knows her life could be worse. She puts up with life’s challenges and likes being different in her own way.

Now this may sound like a fantasy. It does sound unreal or unbelievable to many people she encounters, but this girl turns out to be me, 15 year old Allison Sklarew.

For 11 years now, I am able to live a mostly healthy and happy life, thanks to a decision made by my donor family when they lost their four-year-old son, Joey, in an accident. I met Joey’s mom and brother two years ago for the first time, which was a dream come true. I keep in touch with them now and I love them dearly.

As I have gotten older, I have thought more and more about organ donation and how it has saved my life. So I hope you will consider being an organ donor, as there are many people like me who need your donated organs.

  • Alison

    You are such an outstanding and inspiring person. This article is amazing!


  • Allison Sklarew

    Thank you Alison! It means a lot!