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A Grateful Kidney & Pancreas Transplant Recipient

Introducing Nicole: Part 1

Nicole Dell with her daughter

My name is Nicole, and I am a 36-year-old single mom of a teenager. I am currently going to school for psychology to become a mental health counselor. My hobbies include going to outdoor concerts, amusement parks, spending time with family and friends, and creating things using old costume jewelry. I have one younger brother.

Before my transplant, I was a diabetic for 31 years. I struggled with it and had suffered with some consequences from that. I have very poor vision and have had to get cataract surgery. I also had a detached retina. At one point, I was in the hospital (in ICU) once a month for about a year and a half. Overall, I never felt good. I never had energy to do anything. It all got to be very overwhelming.

Nicole’s Transplant Story: Part 2

Nicole with balloon celebrating transplant anniversary

In March of 2021, I was unlucky enough to get COVID-19. I had to be put on a ventilator and was sent to St. Joseph Hospital, which at the time was the COVID-19 hospital. I was on the ventilator for 8 days and in total was in the hospital for 6 weeks. While in the hospital, I had to get started on dialysis because my kidneys were failing.

That started my journey with dialysis. I was put on the transplant list for a kidney and pancreas after my evaluation on December 17, 2021. I received a call in January but was sent home because the pancreas was not viable for transplant. Only 6 months later, on Father’s Day, I got the call!

My transplant was performed on June 20, 2022, at ECMC. My experience with the transplant team was amazing; they truly work wonders for people. I stayed briefly in the hospital and was sent home to complete my recovery.

Life After Transplant is Good: Part 3

Nicole after her transplant

Life after my transplant is an entirely different world. Especially for me with a new pancreas, I was no longer a diabetic! Which means no more insulin, no more shots, and no more multiple fingers sticks a day. It was life altering. It was always hard to imagine a life without diabetes and struggle.

Now, I am 1 year post transplant, and I am doing great. I must be careful being on immunosuppressants for the rest of my life, but I will take having to be careful over being sick and not feeling well every day. I have been given a second chance at life, and I am so eternally grateful for the family and the young man who passed and saved my life. He is truly my hero.

I have written to my donor family, and I am hoping I will hear from them soon as their son holds a special place in my heart. I would love to learn more about him. I want to say thank you as well to ConnectLife for facilitating this miracle. They are an inspiring organization.

Register your decision to be an organ, eye, and tissue donor today! Give hope to those waiting, like Nicole. Visit

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