When Dr. Yeon couldn’t find the energy to do the things he loved, he assumed it was stress. It turned out that his kidneys were only working at 30% capacity due to kidney disease. He quickly began to make every effort to stop the progression of the disease. Despite these efforts, his condition worsened and eventually became life threatening during a visit to his native North Korea.
Dr. Yeon returned to the United States and underwent extensive dialysis. In his weakened state, the strain of dialysis was almost unbearable. He decided to try for a kidney transplant. Three months after being placed on the transplant waiting list, a donor was found.
Upon waking from his transplant surgery, Dr. Yeon recalls, “On that day, I began my days with renewed hope, sharing a life with an unnamed donor who had given me his organ as the rest of his body passed to the other side … I felt as if I had passed through a long dark tunnel of fear and everything now seemed new, bright, and beautiful.”
He adds, “In this world, there is no greater love than the altruistic love of sharing, and giving a life. I believe that organ donation represents one expression of this love.”