AAKP Ambassador (Virginia), Transplant Recipient
Interests/Experience: Federal Policy/Advocacy, Disparities in Care/Transplantation, Patient Education, Pursuing a Living Donor, Patient Storytelling, Veterans Care, and Coping/Mental Health
Retired Marine Veteran Jennifer Jones’ life changed drastically in a matter of months due to kidney disease. Her kidneys began to fail while deployed to Afghanistan which resulted in immediate medical evacuation to Germany to receive a diagnosis of Nephrotic Syndrome. Upon returning to the states, she was immediately admitted as a patient at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland. After months of testing and multiple medications, J. L. was diagnosed with Membranoproliferative Glomerulonephritis (MPGN) shortly after her 28th birthday. The cause is unknown and there is very limited information on MPGN Type 1 Idiopathic. Jennifer was medically retired after almost 12 years of service as a Combat Camera Videographer including 3 tours to Iraq and the 1 to Afghanistan which ended her career. Facing physical and mental challenges while living alone with limited assistance from friends and family caused isolation, depression, and even suicidal ideations. She knew that she had to make a decision, is she going to become her own advocate in order to take charge of her health and well-being, or is she going to give up and succumb to this disease?