Marshmallow Mondays

Help Us Fight Kidney Disease
09.12.16, 7:28 AM
Filed under: Events, Family | Tags: , ,

October 11th will mark 2 YEARS since Ryan received his kidney/pancreas transplant.

It will be 2 years since another family made the most selfless decision and gave Ryan the gift of life in the midst of their own tragic loss. For us, that has meant 2 years without a scary low sugar episode or the need to call 911. 2 years without hospital stays. 2 years since time felt as though it was standing still. 2 years since a heavy weight was lifted from our shoulders. 2 years of health, happiness and special memories that our family of four have been able to cherish because another family said “yes” to organ donation. 2 years of living diabetes and kidney disease free.

IMG_5724To honor our donor family, to celebrate Ryan’s health, and to show our support for those who are fighting against kidney disease every day, we will once again participate in Lexington’s Kidney Walk on October 9th at Coldstream Park.

This is an opportunity to show our support and provide hope to the 26 million Americans who are living with kidney disease, and the 73 million who are at risk.

We invite all of our friends and family members, near and far, to help us make a difference. There are numerous ways that you can participate:

  • Walk with us. Join our Match For Ryan Team and walk with us on October 9th.
  • Donate to our team. Help us reach our fundraising goal by making a donation, which will help The National Kidney Foundation make a difference in the awareness, prevention and treatment of kidney disease.
  • Visit our Lemonade Stand! On Saturday, September 17th, from 1-4pm Rydan and Lily will have a lemonade stand set up in our front yard. lemonadeoverview100 percent of their sales will support our fundraising goal for the walk. Stop by for some fresh lemonade, sweet treats, and to see two smiling faces trying to make a positive difference because they understand what it’s like when someone you love suffers from kidney disease.

Many thanks in advance for any support you can give!


Walk With Us
09.21.15, 7:50 AM
Filed under: Events | Tags: , ,

kidneywalkMark your calendar! If you’re in our neck of the woods on October 11th, come join us at Lexington’s first Kidney Walk at Coldstream Park at 2pm. We’ve been invited by The National Kidney Foundation Of Kentucky to kick off/lead the walk, and we’ll have a VIP tent with beverages and popsicles for the kids. Why? Because October 11th just so happens to be Ryan’s ONE YEAR Transplant Anniversary! 

We are truly honored to accept this invitation, and look forward to celebrating Ryan’s anniversary by bringing awareness to kidney disease. This is also a great opportunity for us to provide hope to those who are fighting against kidney disease and/or waiting on the transplant waiting list. Last year at this time, Ryan was a Type 1 Diabetic in Stage IV kidney failure, waiting for a kidney/pancreas transplant.

Today, he is living diabetes free, thanks to the organ donor who selflessly gave him the gift of life.


Our first family picture since Ryan’s transplant. Thank you, Rugged Joy Photography!

As we walk together on October 11th, surrounded by those whose lives have been affected by kidney disease, we will remember our donor family as they continue to be the inspiration behind our dedication to encouraging more registered organ donors.

If you would like to join our Match For Ryan Team and walk with us on October 11th, please contact me. We would love to have your company on such a special day.

Help Us Pay It Forward

SYS Straight Cranberry LogoWe are less than two months away from the second annual Share Your Spare 5K Run/Walk!

This is our opportunity to pay forward all of the kindness and support that we received at last year’s race.  We have teamed up with the Kidney Health Alliance of Kentucky (KHAKY) to host this year’s 5K at The Kentucky Horse Park on September 5th. Funds raised from Share Your Spare 5K will benefit KHAKY’S new program, “Get Healthy, Get Transplanted.” This program helps kidney disease patients overcome the obstacles that are keeping them from being approved for the transplant waiting list. When doctors determine that a patient is in need of a transplant, the patient must undergo medical testing and an evaluation to determine that he/she is healthy enough to receive a transplant. For many patients, meeting the testing criteria is challenging. Perhaps a patient is not a healthy weight, needs to quit smoking, or is unable to receive dental clearance. “Get Healthy, Get Transplanted” will provide these patients with a health coach, fitness center and/or dentist so that they can overcome their obstacles and get their name onto the transplant waiting list.

Here’s how you can help us pay it forward to these patients:

  • Register as a runner/walker and participate with us at The Kentucky Horse Park on September 5th. You can run “as a spare” ($25) or “as a pair” ($40). Kids 12 and under can participate in the One Mile Fun Run ($17). All registered participants will receive a t-shirt.


  • Register as a virtual runner/walker and participate from your own community ($30). Your t-shirt will be mailed to you prior to race day.


  • Make a donation to Share Your Spare 5K. Contributions of any amount are appreciated. Simply use the Donate tab on the registration page.
  • Facebook Users: Share our Facebook Page and encourage your friends and family to participate or make a donation.

Race Features:

  • Chip timing by 3 Way Racing
  • Overall & Age Group Awards – winners will receive a special gold, silver or bronze shaped kidney medal.
  • Sidney The Kidney will be in attendance to cheer you on and high-five you as you cross the Finish
  • Kids One Mile Fun Run Participants will receive a Sidney The Kidney tattoo; play “Guess How Many Kidneys” are in the jar for a chance to win the jar of kidneys (jellybeans); as well as play Sidney The Kidney Bean Bag Toss.
  • Granola Bars & Bananas post-race, donated by Costco. Costco representatives will also be present on race day for anyone who would like to learn more about their membership program.
  • Donuts, donated by Donut Days Bakery.
  • Kentucky American Water Hydration Station.


  • Lexington Runners/Walkers: To guarantee that you receive a shirt, please register by August 21st.
  • Virtual Runners/Walkers: To guarantee that we have enough time to mail your shirt to you, please register by August 17th.
  • Online Registration will close on September 4th at noon. Registration will be available on race day at The Kentucky Horse Park, beginning at 7:30am.

Run Club
06.15.15, 11:29 AM
Filed under: Events | Tags: ,

Run Club PhotoIf you plan on participating in the second annual Share Your Spare 5K Run/Walk at the Kentucky Horse Park on September 5th, you should know about the Horse Park’s Run Club.

The Run Club meets on Mondays from 5-8pm between now and September 28th. Run or walk their 2-mile route at your own pace or add on an extra 1.5 miles on the extended route. Kids, strollers and leashed dogs are welcome.

You’ll enjoy beautiful scenery in the heart of Kentucky, local food trucks, and of course, horses.

Today’s Run Club features Sweet Lily Frozen Yogurt, Red State BBQ and John’s Run/Walk Shop. For more info and to see a weekly schedule, click here.

And if you haven’t already registered for Share Your Spare 5K, we encourage you to do so today! Run or walk with us in Lexington or virtually from your own community. This is a great opportunity to exercise as a family while showing support for kidney disease patients. Help us pay forward all of the truly inspiring support we received at last year’s inaugural event. We hope to see you there!

2015 Share Your Spare 5K Run/Walk

SYS Straight Cranberry LogoMark your calendar!  Share Your Spare 5K Run/Walk is returning for its second year on September 5, 2015!

We are very excited about our race’s new venue, The Kentucky Horse Park, which is guaranteed to provide our runners and walkers with beautiful scenery at the heart of Kentucky.

Registration is now open. Like last year, you have various options to participate. If you’re joining us in Lexington, you can run “as a spare” (individual) or “as a pair” (couple; save $10), and a One Mile Kids Fun Run will take place for kids 12 years of age and under (4 and under are free).  All participants, kids included, will receive a dri-fit shirt with paid registration.



Our special kidney-shaped medals will be awarded to the top three overall finishers (male & female) as well as the top three age group finishers (male & female).


3 Way Racing will also be back to chip time the race. We love these guys and all of the enthusiasm, organization and energy they bring on race day.

pittsburgh vrFor runners/walkers who live outside of Lexington, Virtual Runner/Walker registration is available. Your $30 registration will include shipping of your race shirt, which we encourage you to wear on your virtual run or walk. Please be sure to register by August 17th, so that we have time to mail your shirt to prior to race day on September 5th. Our virtual runner and walker participation was huge last year, and it spread across the entire country, plus three runners in Afghanistan. We are really looking forward to having your support again this year. Don’t forget to take a picture of yourself during your virtual run or walk and post it to our Facebook Page. We love seeing where everyone is running/walking and knowing that we all are coming together to raise awareness for kidney disease.

KHAKY-LogoFunds raised from this year’s Share Your Spare 5K will support “Get Healthy, Get Transplanted,” a new program by the Kidney Health Alliance of Kentucky (KHAKY). In order to be approved for an organ transplant, patients must undergo medical testing and evaluation, some of which includes having a healthy weight, a dental exam to confirm no active infections, and smoking cessation. For some kidney disease patients, meeting this criteria can be challenging. “Get Healthy, Get Transplanted” will assist these patients by providing them with a dentist, health coach and/or fitness center which will make overcoming their obstacles possible so that they can be approved for placement on the transplant waiting list. By participating in Share Your Spare 5K, you will support these individuals while bringing awareness to kidney disease and the significance of becoming an organ donor.

When I created Share Your Spare 5K last year, my goals were to increase awareness for kidney disease and organ transplantation through sharing my husband, Ryan’s, transplant story. At the time, he was a very sick Type 1 Diabetic in need of a kidney and a pancreas. We received an abundance of support and love through our 5K last June, and it was one of the best , most memorable experiences of our lives. Since then, Ryan has received his transplant and is now living diabetes free for the first time in 15 years. Being able to plan Share Your Spare 5K for a second year and make a difference for kidney disease patients who are struggling to get onto the waiting list, is the perfect pay it forward opportunity for us. We are simply thrilled at the way this has worked out, and we hope that you will join us on September 5th and support “Get Healthy, Get Transplanted.”

Blue & Green Day
04.13.15, 8:50 AM
Filed under: Events | Tags: , ,

Mark your calendar! This Thursday, April 17th is National Donate Life Blue & Green Day. During this day, everyone is encouraged to wear blue and green to promote the success of organ, eye and tissue transplantation, and to emphasize the extreme need for more registered donors.


We know first hand how miraculous transplantation can be, and we live with grateful hearts every single day for the gift that Ryan has received. However, over 123,000 men, women and children are still awaiting organ transplants in the United States. The need for organs and tissue is significantly greater than the number available for transplantation. Every 10 minutes, another name is added to the national organ transplant waiting list. Each day, an average of 21 people die because an organ was not available for transplant.

Sadly, 90 percent of Americans say that they support organ donation, but only 30 percent know the essential steps to become a donor. Our challenge to you on National Blue & Green Day is to not just wear blue and green, but to tell everyone you see on Thursday why you are wearing those colors. Tell them you support organ donation. Tell them about Ryan’s story. Most importantly, tell them how they, too, can offer hope to those waiting, simply by becoming a registered donor. Refer them to

Gift Of Life Gala

2015-03-14 15.55.56What an evening we had on Saturday at the Gift Of Life Gala in Louisville!

As you recall, Ryan and I were invited to share our transplant story at this special fundraiser that supports The National Kidney Foundation.

The evening consisted of impressive silent and live auctions that were filled with all sorts of really cool items, a fun and very addicting “Ring Toss” game, drinks, three-course dinner, various awards being presented and a live band.

Joining us at our table were Nicole Nelson and her mother, Yvette. You all know Nicole by now. She was the first person to offer her kidney to Ryan, and she’s become an amazing friend since then. Nicole is now enrolled in a paired kidney exchange program, following in her mother’s footsteps. Yvette donated her kidney to a woman a few years ago, and both women are doing very well. We simply think the world of Nicole and Yvette. The compassion that lives inside of their hearts is truly inspirational and one of a kind. It really meant a lot to us that they decided to travel from Pennsylvania to attend the Gala with us. We laughed, we shared tears of joy, we had great conversations, and they even joined us in Lexington for brunch on Sunday. What a treat!

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2015-03-14 18.23.25Guests of the Gala included various types of doctors and specialists, kidney transplant recipients, volunteers of the NKF, employees of Kentucky Organ Donor Affiliates, and many, many others whose lives have somehow been affected by kidney disease. There were so many stories within that room. Seated next to us was a beautiful couple, married for 42 years. The husband is currently fighting a very difficult battle in trying to receive a transplant. Listening to their story and sharing our own with him was a very humbling reminder of how blessed we’ve been in Ryan’s transplant journey. Our lives are moving forward in a healthy, positive direction, but that is not the case for so many others who are still waiting, still suffering and still fighting. Having been there, our hearts just ache for these people.

Knowing that was a big motivation for my speech. If we can offer a bit of hope to those who are suffering, then sharing our story is exactly what we’ll continue to do. Many of you who follow our Match For Ryan page have already watched my speech, but in case you haven’t seen it, feel free to watch it below. It’s about 8 minutes in length.

A really cool aspect of the evening was the special appeal, which occurred right after my speech. Attendees were given the opportunity to stand up and make donations to the NKF in support of their fight against kidney disease. As each donation was made, a balloon was tied to the donor’s chair. By the end of the evening, there was a sea of orange balloons representing various dollar amounts that will support the NKF. I took this photo about halfway through that portion of the evening, so by the end of it there were many, many more balloons soaring in the air. It was such a beautiful, hopeful sight to see.

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This was an incredibly memorable evening for us, one we will always treasure and one that we are proud to have been a part of this year.

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