Dawn Arch, organ recipient
Dawn Arch isn’t easily discouraged. Her instinctive ability to remain hopeful, she says, made living with severe kidney disease a little easier. Diagnosed with renal failure in 2011, Dawn spent nearly six years on dialysis. Always energetic and on the move, she was determined not to let the disease get the best of her. Even while undergoing dialysis three days a week, she continued working full time as a certified nursing assistant and spending time with her family.
Although living a fairly normal life on dialysis was possible, Dawn had concerns about the future. Her doctor said she would eventually need a kidney transplant. At just 49 years old, she wanted to be around for her daughter, Darrian. They’ve always had a tight bond and the two grew even closer in 2017 when Darrian’s father died.
“If you see me, you usually see her, and I talk to her every day,” Dawn says. “Since her dad died, I’m all she’s got, and she’s all I’ve got.”
Darrian worried about the future, too. When her mom got sick, she began researching kidney disease and organ transplants. While in high school, she started a website to educate others about organ donation. Several years later, as Miss Indiana USA, Darrian continued her advocacy in partnership with Indiana Donor Network.
“She would be on the road at 5 or 6 am on her way down to Indy to speak or attend an event,” Dawn recalled. “She was doing it all, not only for me, but for other people who needed organ transplants.”
Fortunately, that’s no longer a need for Dawn. She received a kidney on July 29, 2020, and spent the summer recovering at her home near Valparaiso. Dawn makes the most of every day and takes nothing for granted.
“This wasn’t just a gift for me; it was a gift for my daughter, too. I consider myself one of the blessed ones…it’s been a blessing for both of us.”