Right before Edward’s 21st birthday, he was not celebrating. Instead, he was finding out that he had end-stage renal disease during a routine checkup. He would later find out that he needed a kidney transplant to survive.
Edward had been excelling in school and sports, and now, everything was changing. Initially, his reaction was, “Why me? Why now?”
But for Edward, he knew that it could be worse. He quickly changed his attitude to, “Why not me? Why not now?”
He was on the waiting list for three years and was put on kidney dialysis. His faith got him through the waiting, but the uncertainty became difficult during the last six months. This difficult time prompted Edward to use his situation to help others. In September 2007, Edward founded The Youth Needing Organ & Tissue Transplants Foundation (YNOTT?) The Foundation has helped thousands of children simply because of Edward, a kid who asked the question “Why me?”
The Foundation aims to educate pediatric transplant patients on the importance of staying compliant before and after their transplant. Additionally, YNOTT? has hosted health awareness events to prevent future diagnosis.
Six months after founding YNOTT?, Edward received the call that he was the backup recipient for a kidney that the hospital had just received.
“It was a weird feeling knowing that another person was waiting, too,” Edward said.
A few hours later, Edward received the call that he would receive a kidney transplant. His new life was beginning, and he would be healthy again.
Post-transplant, Edward is happier than ever. He feels that he has found his purpose by helping children in similar situations.
“Everything happens for a reason,” he said. “I am grateful for the opportunity to impact lives.”
Check out Edward’s Tribute video below. Don’t forget to record your own!