Erma J. Hibbard is a client of the Georgia Transplant Foundation’s (GTF) Transplant Fundraising Program (TFP) and is fundraising for costs related to her Kidney transplant that will not be covered by her current insurance plan. Erma J. Hibbard has been evaluated for a transplant and is listed at Piedmont Hospital located in Atlanta, GA.
My name is Erma Hibbard. I am 34 years old. I currently work for an accounting law firm and I recently received my BA in Psychology. I am a wife to Steven and a mother to Jason (13), Brianna (10) and Tyler (6). Steven and I gained custody of my niece five years ago so I am also a surrogate mother to Alizah (14). My family is what keeps me going and what gives me the strength to make it day after day. There are many days that I am in pain and do not think I can make it through the day but those people that I just mentioned make me fight harder.
Kidney disease is a disease that has ran rampant in my family since I was 4 years old. Three of my aunts were diagnosed with kidney failure and have since had kidney transplants. My grandmother lost her battle to kidney disease 5 years ago. When I was in kindergarten this disease was found in my mother. She lived a life of pain and financial struggle all while we had no other choice but to watch. When I was 12 years old my older sister was diagnosed with a brain tumor. This was another financial struggle that we all had to come together to get through.
My mother did dialysis at home with me as her nurse. I helped her hook on to her machine at night and I helped her get off of the machine in the mornings. I would then help her get my sister up who at this point was terminally ill and could no longer do for herself. All of these things had to be done before I headed off to school every morning.
Although my childhood was not normal it was my normal. My world came crashing down in the early hours of May 1994. My older sister went into a seizure that she never came out of. My mother was hooked to her dialysis machine and was unable to unhook herself to be there for her daughter. My sister Leslie lost her battle to cancer on that morning and died in my arms.
My mother always felt guilty about not being able to be there for her daughter's last hours of life. Dialysis took away a lot of things and people from my family. My mother stayed depressed for the next 6 months after my sister’s death. She was no longer capable of taking care of herself or me or my brother. I made sure she did dialysis at night and made sure she got off in the mornings. I got my little brother ready for school and made sure we all ate. My mother lost her battle with kidney disease 6 months after my sister passed away. She was never placed on a kidney transplant list and she did dialysis until the day she died at the young age of 36.
If you asked me, I think that my mother died of a broken heart and no longer wanted to be here the way she was and without one of her children. I raised my brother and gained legal custody from the courts until he was 18 years old. I am a private person and I do not share my life present or past with many people. I am telling you all about me because I want you to understand what I have been through and how dialysis has already affected my life and took away people that meant the world to me. And so you can also understand why I will not let this disease take over my life or affect my children’s lives.
I began having issues with my kidneys a couple of months after my mother died. My whole body began to swell because my body was not able to get rid of toxins. From then on seeing a kidney specialist became a normal routine for me. I live a life of simplicity since many things can affect my kidneys. I never consume any kind of alcoholic beverages and I never drink caffeine. There is a long list of things that I cannot eat and I avoid like the plague. My specialist always tells me that he and his colleagues always study my case when they get together for their conferences. My case is very unusual to them because I should have been on dialysis a long time ago. But because I am so careful I have been able to delay the process for a couple of years and in the mean time have children that I was told I could not have.
I wanted to share all of this with you because I want you to know that I am a fighter. I have been fighting my whole life in some form or another. I will not let kidney disease defeat me and take me away from everyone and everything I love. I have defied and beat the odds before and I can and will do it again. I am enduring all of the doctor’s visits, hospital visits, examinations and injections because I know in the long run it will all be worth it. I have to be here to help my husband raise our children. I know that God would not bring me through my childhood to abandon me now.
Thank you for taking time to view my website and read my story. Making a donation is voluntary and it would help me and my family out tremendously with the medications I will have to take for the rest of my life following the transplant. But if you are unable to donate money please say a prayer for us. God hears all prayers no matter how small and I know that those prayers would help tremendously as well. Thank you for your time.