Aleah Hartung

A mother and daughter share a tenacious spirit.  And a kidney.

Aleah and Sandra Hartung
Aleah and Sandra Hartung

“I was 18, an invincible college freshman, just finishing my finals in May of 2008 and looking forward to a great summer. I felt my life was on track as I had recently moved out of my parent’s house to be near campus, had a part-time job, a new relationship and a full class schedule. The past few months had been quite stressful and I hadn’t been feeling very well.  I was very fatigued, extremely pale, and had shortness of breath walking up a flight of stairs.  I had always been healthy.” ~ Aleah

After a particularly bad day, on May 15th, her mother, Sandra, took her to the ER. After repeated blood tests and an ultrasound, Aleah was told she was in end stage renal disease. Her kidneys had failed.  A catheter was placed in her chest and dialysis started. Their world turned upside down, Sandra set herself on a course to save her daughter’s life. Aleah passed all her final exams in complete renal failure. Tenacity is a family trait.

“After extensive testing, my mom qualified to be a donor.  Eight months after my diagnosis, 100 dialysis treatments and several hospital stays, I received my new kidney on December 29, 2008.”. ~ Aleah

“I was glad to do what I could do.  My coordinator would say, ‘We have a problem.’ I would say, ‘No we don’t.  We’ll do whatever we have to do.’ But I felt comfortable with them being conservative.” ~ Sandra

Team Aleah at the 2009 Donate Life Walk
Team Aleah at the 2009 Donate Life Walk

“I am happy to say I have resumed a normal life and now am currently a full time student majoring in neuroscience, minoring in chemistry, working towards my goal of a career in transplant pharmacy.” ~ Aleah

“It’s part of who we’ve become.  It’s enriched our lives. It’s given us a purpose. You have to move forward. Her doctor said, ‘This isn’t a death sentence, it’s a life sentence.’” ~Sandra

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