Recipient-Coordinator Reunion 34 Years in the Making

At the age of 18 years old, David Swearingen found himself in need of a kidney transplant. Diagnosed with glomerulonephritis, an inflammation of the tiny filters in the kidneys, doctors said a transplant was his best option. That is when he met his transplant coordinator, Carolyn Olivarez, at Wilford Hall Medical Center on Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio, Texas.  She offered comfort to the young man and helped David and his family navigate the paperwork, medications, appointments and, eventually, six weeks of dialysis. Thanks to the generosity of his brother Weldon, who proved to be a perfect match, David received the gift of life on March 10, 1981.   

Not long after that, Carolyn Olivarez left Wilford Hall to work for LifeGift in Houston and the two parted ways. But during a recent visit to Houston, David was reunited with her after 34 years when he and his wife, Vicky, met Carolyn for lunch. 

David said, “Thanks to loving and caring people such as Carolyn and generous donors like Weldon, people like me can live happy and healthy lives. May God bless them both!” 

Today, David and Weldon are both healthy and David helps spread the word about becoming an organ and tissue donor by volunteering with LifeGift at every chance he can. 

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