Last March, Miriam Yarde desperately needed a transplant. The 24-year-old University of California graduate, who spent much of her childhood in foster care, suffers from a rare condition that would have taken her life absent a new kidney.
This month, just over a year later, The Chronicle of Social Change is happy to report that Yarde is scheduled for surgery and excited for something once in doubt … her next chapter.
Yarde grew up in Long Beach, Calif., and spent time in nine different foster homes during her childhood. Despite bouncing from school to school as a result, she excelled in high school and went on to California-Berkeley, where she earned a bachelor’s degree in English.
In her sophomore year, Yarde was diagnosed with IgA nephropathy, also known as Berger’s disease, which causes inflammation that hampers the kidney’s ability to filter waste from blood. Her condition worsened, and turned into end-stage renal failure.
With her kidneys no longer functioning, Miriam has since undergone five surgeries, multiple blood transfusions, and numerous other hospital stays, all while managing her undergraduate coursework and now a full-time job as a legal assistant.
This month, Yarde found out that a living donor has matched with her, and is tentatively scheduled for an operation next week at the University of California-Davis’ transplant center.
If all goes well, she can continue to pursue her career as an attorney for other youth involved in the child welfare system.
“I’m feeling excited and ready to get back to normal life,” Yarde said. “Receiving this transplant means a lot to me and I’m grateful for everyone who has supported me along the way.”
While insurance will cover the life-saving transplant, it may not cover all of the serious medications and treatments that follow. Last year, several of her close friends and mentors launched a GoFundMe page to raise money to help Yarde post-surgery. This effort was bolstered when Danielle Gletow, the founder of One Simple Wish, launched a campaign to support Yarde.
“I’m so amazed by Miriam’s strength of character,” said Deborah Lowe Martinez, director of the Hope Scholars academic retention program at Berkeley for students who are currently in foster care, in a Chronicle story last year. “For people who are in Miriam’s shoes and don’t have the familial resources so many take for granted, it is so important they get the financial support they need to get through it.”
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