As a Christian, one is supposed to be content in everything he or she does, but sometimes that can be hard. Occasionally one wants to be selfish and sleep in on Sunday morning or decide it is too hot to volunteer outside. There is always that one person who each of us knows who is able to show up for everything, never complaining, and always smiling. The person who will show up early at the food distribution drive or spend a week in the hot Texas summer heat without AC volunteering at church camp. We all wonder how that person is able to do all the things that they do. Taylor Holt is one of those people, able to always keep others first and glorify God in everything she does.
Last February, a lot of people who Taylor cared about deeply or loved started getting sick. Taylor became heartbroken and sad by all the sickness around her. “I believe I was spirit led, because one night I was reading Psalms 112 & 113 — which has nothing to do with health in any way — but in the middle of it, I realized I could donate now. I finished those chapters and immediately started researching to see what it would take to donate an organ,” Taylor said. “I found out that you could donate part of your liver or a kidney, while living, and the next day I called the University Transplant Center.”
Taylor was considering donating her liver, but the hospital encouraged Taylor to consider donating her kidney instead. Typically, only blood relatives are considered for liver transplants, so Taylor was denied being able to donate her liver. The hospital asked Taylor to contemplate a kidney donation.
“During all that time, I had been praying to God for an answer, but never felt like I had received an answer from Him. So I took a leap of faith, asking God to block this path if it was not what He wanted me to do,” Taylor said.
At that point, Taylor had not had any of the tests needed, so she knew if this wasn’t what God wanted, a test would come back negative. That’s not what happened at all, though; the doors flew open for Taylor after the first round of testing. In the beginning of April 2014, Taylor drove to the University Transplant Center in San Antonio to begin the next round of tests. All of Taylor’s tests came back perfectly normal, and she was finally approved by the end of April to donate one of her kidneys.
Taylor wanted to have the surgery in mid-May 2014, so she could recover over the summer before starting her last semester at Texas A&M University. The University Transplant Center wasn’t sure they could have that quick of a turn around, because they typically have a six month long process. Since Taylor’s tests were all good, they wanted to try and find a match. The University Transplant Center identified three people who might be possible matches. Then, there were six point markers they tested. Most unrelated people are a one- or two-point match, with relatives usually getting a three- or four-point match.
“My nurse called me to let me know I was a three-point match with someone. She told me that during her 30 years of doing this, she has never had unrelated people be this close of a match, and that it was remarkable,” Taylor said. “So I took that as a sign from God, affirmation, that this is what I was supposed to be doing.”
Less than a week later, Taylor met Mark Yenshaw, the person who would be receiving her kidney.
“I’m 22 years old and 5’3”. Mark is 24 years old and 6’4”. The first time we met, Mark walked into the room, shook my hand, and said, ‘Hey I’m Mark, and you are saving my life.’ This was a moment of panic for me, because I had spent so much time researching everything and knew it was a good thing, but I hadn’t actually thought about how I would be saving a life, ” Taylor said.
Before the surgery the two went to lunch, and Mark asked Taylor why she was doing this. “It was awesome, because I got to share with him the fact that God had just put this on my heart. I told him I knew the risks involved, but I’m okay with it, because I trust that God is going to provide,” Taylor said.
The day before surgery, Mark tried to talk Taylor out of the surgery, because of all the risks involved. “I was able to assure him that I knew, I knew my God, and knew He would take care of me and my family.”
The next day, they had the surgery, and within an hour of the kidney being inside Mark it started working. Since then, both have recovered from their surgeries, and Mark was even able to get off of the blood pressure medicine he has been on for two years.
It is no question that Taylor’s journey was spirit led. This surgery renewed Mark’s faith in God, and in September he went to Walk to Emmaus with Taylor’s dad, who was the spiritual leader. “He is seeking God now, the transplant gave his faith a jump start,” Taylor said. Taylor continues to keep in touch with Mark and as his faith grows, their friendship continues to grow.
There are over 120,000 Americans waiting for a lifesaving organ transplant, but fewer than 17,000 people receive one each year. Each day 14 people will die while waiting for a kidney. If you would like to learn more about the kidney donation process, please visit www.kidney.org or www.unos.org.
article by by Ariel Rosentswieg