24-year-old Miriam Yarde at the Oakland Davita Dialysis Center. Yarde needs a kidney and spends four hours, three times a week connected to the dialysis machine that filters toxins from her blood.
Imagine being attached to a machine for four hours, three time a week. Your entire life revolves around this machine and its life saving process of filtering the toxins out of your blood. This is the reality for 24-year-old Miriam Yarde, who spends much of her time as a patient at the Oakland Davita Dialysis Center.
Yarde remains on the waiting list for a transplant, but a kidney donation would change her life. Even after a transplant Yarde will face paying thousands of dollars for medications necessary to sustain her health for the rest of her life.
These are not the first hurdles in Yarde’s life. As a foster child, she and her siblings bounced from home to home, yet despite the challenges, Yarde graduated with honors from U.C. Berkeley and currently works as a paralegal.
According to Yarde, many former foster youth do not graduate from high school and only three percent of foster youth graduate college. Yarde considers it a miracle that she graduated from college, and credits the help of mentors, teachers, friends and her siblings.
“I attribute being still alive to my friends, family, and God,” said Yarde. “There have been numerous times where I could have died due to my illness but I think that God has kept me alive because he wants me to serve people like me. I also believe that people’s prayers have helped.
In her free time, Yarde volunteers at California Youth Connection, a nonprofit organization which aims to improve the foster care system through legislation and policy change. “I also mentor a UC Berkeley student who is in the Berkeley Hope Scholars Program. Berkeley Hope Scholars is a foster youth support program on Berkeley’s campus.”
Yarde says she has met many interesting people while on dialysis. “I’ve grown closest to two people. One has passed away but helped me transition into dialysis and the other is like a mother figure. Most people on dialysis are elderly so it has been rewarding to form bonds and gain wisdom from the other patients.”
When she’s free of dialysis, Yarde says she will go back to tutoring underprivileged kids around the Bay Area.
“I tutored foster youth and minority children in middle school and high school before my illness. Being free of dialysis will allow me to help youth access higher education. I also would like to travel. Being on dialysis has prevented me from traveling so I hope to get the opportunity to visit my father’s homeland, Trinidad, soon.”