Bonnie Morren lives each day knowing she needs someone else’s kidney.
(ABOVE: Bonnie Morren faces her wait for a life-saving organ donation by relying on faith and friends, many of whom have brought her magnets from around the world to put on these boards in her home. Photo by Jaxx Artz)
“That can be overwhelming and fearful,” she said. “Even then, I always go back to my mantra to always be joyful and give thanks.”
“Receiving a kidney is an enormous gift. It is a big ask and also a big give because it changes your world.” -Bonnie Morren
Morren, a Park Cities resident for more than 26 years, is battling stage 4 Chronic Kidney Disease after long-term use of the medication lithium to treat bipolar disorder. Her kidney function has dropped to an irreversible 8 percent.
With approximately 100,000 people in America on the waitlist for a kidney transplant, it can take five years to get a transplant – even longer for those like Morren who have type O blood.
To bypass the waitlist, her best solution is to find a living donor.
To stay positive, she relies on her mantra, which she took from Scripture: “Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” — 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18.
She includes that message on the T-shirts and mailers her family distributes for her Kick For a Kidney campaign to find a living donor.
On a Facebook page titled, “My Mom’s Journey: Kick for a Kidney,” her daughter Lucie describes Morren as the most “bubbly, vivacious and enthusiastic” person. The page also encourages visitors to post their own versions of the “Kick for a Kidney” dance to draw attention to Morren’s need in particular and kidney disease in general.
“I get energized by people that are genuinely interested in my cause, and that is where most my enthusiasm comes from,” Morren said.
“Everyone can help by telling their friends, creating awareness, and getting the word out through social media. There are people out there that are matches, and they just don’t know it, but they can be tested,” she said. “Even if this person is not a match for me, I hope people would still be willing to give a part of themselves and consider being a match for someone else.”
The Morrens have been active in the community through helping and attending schools, churches, and several charities. She hopes to live many more years and serve as an advocate for those suffering from kidney disease and mental illness.
“Receiving a kidney is an enormous gift,” Morren said. “It is a big ask and also a big give because it changes your world. If you can share your spare to save a life, you know you have made a big difference. Life is the most precious gift that we have.”