Organ donor advocate preaches exercise, healthy eating

April 10, 2014

Quinetta Taylor, 31, isn't focused on fitting into skinny jeans, but saving her own life as she awaits a kidney transplant.

Taylor says exercising with a trainer and making healthier food choices was key to her weight loss.

''Before it could even be considered for the transplant, I had to lose the weight. It was 150 pounds, so that was the largest barrier for me,'' Taylor said.

When she was just 19 years old, Taylor started experiencing kidney problems while in college.

Taylor contracted the same genetic disease that caused her father's kidneys to fail 33 years ago. Taylor and her dad receive 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. But 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,'' Taylor said.

In 2013, after she shed most of the weight, doctors added Taylor to the kidney transplant waiting list. The Fitness Formula Club, where Taylor's 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 is register as many people as we can to hopefully help ease that wait,'' said Josh Muller of Gift of Hope Organ and Tissue Donor Network.

For Taylor, It's personal.

''You can have an impact and you can leave your mark on the world just by choosing to share your organs and tissues with someone in need,'' Taylor said.

April is National Donate Life Month. For more information about how to join the donor registry: