Exercising with a trainer and making healthier food choices has helped Quinetta Taylor, 31, lose 130 pounds. She says it isn't about fitting into skinny jeans. It's about saving her own life.
"Before I could even be considered for the transplant, I had to lose the weight," Taylor said. "It was 150 pounds, so that was the largest barrier for me."
Taylor first started experiencing kidney problems as a 19-year-old college student. She has the same genetic disease that caused her father's kidneys to fail 33 years ago. They now get dialysis treatment at the same facility - three times a week, at least four hours a day.
"I don't wallow in what's going on. I embrace it and I accept it to challenge myself the best person I can be," Taylor said. "I'm not going to let it define me. I'm going to use it to help other people and encourage them not to let their circumstances get them down either.
After shedding most of the weight, doctors added Taylor to the kidney transplant waiting list last year. The Fitness Formula Club, where she is a member, has joined the Gift of Hope Organ and Tissue Donor Network to raise awareness and increase donor registrations during National Donate Life Month.
"Right now there's more than 120,000 Americans waiting for a life-saving organ transplant and 5,000 of those people are right here in Illinois. What we're trying to do here today is register as many people as we can to hopefully help ease that wait," Gift of Hope's Josh Muller said.
For Taylor, it's personal.
"You can have an impact and you can leave your mark on the world," Taylor said, "just by choosing to share your organs and tissues with someone in need."
For more information on how to join the donor registry, visit GiftofHope.org.