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Communicating for Life

Zina Deretsky and Alan Lapp presented “Communicating for Life” for the Association of Medical Illustrators (AMI) at the AMI’s annual meeting
in Austin, Texas
in the summer of 2017. It moved some of the audience to tears.

After Al was diagnosed with Polycystic Kidney Disease (PKD) and told his kidneys were on the five-year countdown to failure, Zina and Al spent seven years devoting much of their lives learning as much as possible about kidney transplants to find a live kidney donor and the correct transplant center to undertake the procedure. They both learned to interact with transplant centers, doctors, nurses, support groups, and potential donors.

Alan was successfully transplanted in May of 2016. Both the gift of the kidney and the surgery itself are true miracles.

The strongest lesson learned in this quest was the vital importance of communication inside and outside the system.

Interestingly and conveniently, illustration is the perfect preparation for such a landscape and challenge.

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