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Robin Harris, Critical Care Nurse, Shares Her Kidney Transplant Story


Robin Harris has given lifesaving care to countless patients as a critical care nurse since 1982. She’s still at it today in the critical care unit (CCU) at Phoebe’s main campus. “I’ll be 65 this year, but I’m not planning on retiring” Robin said. “I feel good.  I just enjoy life.” She’s only able to provide that compassionate treatment to Phoebe patients today because of lifesaving care she received 22 years ago in the form of a kidney transplant.

As a little girl, Robin developed pneumonia which led to infection that attacked her kidneys, causing scarring and chronic kidney disease. She never realized just how ill she was until her kidneys finally gave out, and she had to begin dialysis. “I had been sick so long, my body adjusted. I was just used to it. I continued to work even while I was on dialysis,” Robin said.

Doctors told Robin she needed a kidney transplant. No family member was an appropriate living donor, so Robin had to wait. Only eight months later, she got the call that a kidney was available. “I was really lucky. I was able to get a good kidney very quick,” she said.

Robin’s transplant took place on April 13, 1997 at Piedmont Hospital in Atlanta. “When I opened my eyes (after the surgery), I immediately felt better. I have had no setbacks whatsoever.”

Each April, Robin celebrates her new kidney’s birthday. She often shares cake with co-workers who sometimes even give her kidney birthday gifts.  “I’m so lucky. I have two birthdays now,” Robin said.

Robin, however, knows someone else had to lose their life so that hers could be saved. All she knows about her donor is that he or she was a child.  She has never been able to reach the family to express her gratitude personally. “A day doesn’t go by that I don’t thank them,” she said. “I want them to know what a great gift it was for me, and it was not wasted.”

Even before Robin knew she would need a transplant, she was involved with LifeLink of Georgia, the organization that promotes and coordinates organ donations. In the CCU, she saw the need for organ donors and helped comfort families who made a decision to donate. Now, she is a shining example of the impact organ donation has, and she encourages all of us to register as organ donors. “I want people to know, it saved my life,” she said. “It’s just a blessing.”

Learn more about organ donation by visiting https://www.donatelifegeorgia.org/get-the-facts/.