EDUCATING AND SUPPORTING BAY AREA KIDNEY PATIENTS
By Regina Billbury
My name is Regina Billbury, and I am a living kidney donor. In 2016, I participated in the kidney swap program at CPMC so that my father could receive a kidney. Briefly, my kidney was donated to another recipient and my father received his kidney from another donor.
Regina and her dad
Keeping it In the Family
Although I was only 24 at the time, making this decision was very easy. Witnessing the stress placed on my family as my father underwent dialysis was painful and I immediately knew that if I had the opportunity to help improve my father’s quality of life I would. Although I knew my father had reservations about me potentially donating due to my young age, I continued to pursue the donor evaluation without him knowing. Once everything was solidified and I was informed that I was clear to participate in the swap program, I joyfully joined my mother in relaying the news to my father. This decision was one of the best I could have ever made, and if given the opportunity I would do it 10000 times over again.
Today, I am healthier than I have ever been and haven’t had any complications or concerns regarding the surgery. I am a medical social worker with DaVita Dialysis, supporting dialysis patients and their families through the many psychosocial stressors that come with being on dialysis. Several years ago, I would have never expected to be in this field, but the support I have received from the medical social work team at CPMC as well as the genuine, empathetic care I saw my father receive from the nurse at Wellbound, completely re-routed my career path and passion for this field. I had been in school studying for a MSW-medical social worker working with children but changed my mind, and now I am a social worker for kidney patients.