Mom With Liver Transplant To Defend Her Medal in U.S. Games

Filed under: Celeb Parents, In The News, Amazing Parents, Celeb News & Interviews

The National Kidney Foundation Lauren Donkar

Lauren Donkar, right, with her daughter Allie and her husband Nick. Courtesy of the National Kidney Foundation

When 32-year-old Lauren Donkar of Atlanta, Georgia, hears other women telling their childbirth war stories, she's careful to stay out of the conversation. No one can top hers, but she's not looking for sympathy.

When Lauren delivered her daughter Allie, now nearly 4, she began violently coughing up blood only 12 hours after laying eyes on her beautiful firstborn's perfect little toes. Four weeks later, she awoke from a coma to learn that she had undergone not one, but two liver transplants.

Due to a complication from pre-eclampsia, Donkar's liver failed and the situation was so desperate, they transplanted a liver from a donor with the wrong blood type. That one lasted two weeks until a compatible match was found -- a liver that's been standing the test of time, so far.

Donkar recognizes that she experienced a complete medical miracle due to someone else's sacrifice, but in her opinion, having a transplant "doesn't make you special ... it's how you cope with the challenges that are thrown your way that counts and what you do with the second chance at life you've been granted."

This summer, Donkar's truly planning to make the most of her donor's gift as she competes in tennis at the 2010 National Kidney Foundation U.S. Transplant Games, an Olympic-style event for transplant recipients who show the world that transplants work as they compete in 12 different sports and celebrate the gift of life together. She'll be defending the silver medal she won at the event in 2008, when her transplant coordinator had to convince her to participate. "Once I got there, I was sold immediately. It was great to be part of a community of people who shared the same experience. I loved hearing all my teammates cheer me on as I competed."

Her next adventure will be baby no. 2, although Donkar wouldn't dream of getting pregnant again. This time, she and her husband, Nick, will experience parenthood through IVF and a surrogate. They will welcome the newest member of their family this November.

Now back to work part time as a pediatric nurse practitioner, playing tennis regularly as she trains for the Transplant Games and running after Allie, who miraculously came through her mom's rocky birth experience just fine, Donkar is certainly making the most of her second chance every single day.

You can follow Lauren's tennis results, along with all other transplant recipient athletes, this week on the National Kidney Foundation's U.S. Transplant Games website.

Related: Woman Having Babies from 2 Separate Wombs
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