Thriving after a kidney transplant


When Karen Goldthwaite received a new kidney in 2008 at Baylor Scott & White All Saints Medical Center – Fort Worth—thanks to an anonymous organ donor, via the local organ bank—virtually everything about her life changed.

Gone were her days of dragging herself out of bed, sick from renal failure. She had struggled through her work as a third grade teacher, literally collapsing into her bed at the end of each day.

But in the wake of her transplant, Karen became active again. She swam for herself, her health and to honor the anonymous organ donor who gave her a new kidney and a new life.

“I owed it to them to take the very best care of my kidney I possibly could, so that it would sustain me in my life,” she said. “You really do have a whole new life again after a transplant.”

Swimming is a low-impact, high-benefit exercise

Five years after her kidney transplant, Karen would turn into a fish four times a week. Swimming became not just a hobby for her, but also a way to take care of her body post-transplant.


She would glide through the pool wearing a brightly colored swimsuit, using different strokes and water exercise tools to vary her routine as she swam 1-1.5 miles during each outing.

Whether or not you’re a transplant recipient, swimming is good medicine. According to Women’s Health Magazine, no other workout burns calories, boosts metabolism and firms every muscle in your body (without putting stress on your joints) better than a swimming workout.

In fact, swimming is credited with a bevy of healthful effects. Studies have shown that swimming helps:

  • Alleviate stress
  • Improves coordination
  • Improves balance
  • Enhances posture
  • Improves flexibility

On top of all that, it’s a great way to cool down during long, hot summer days.

Give a kidney, save a life

Not everyone is as fortunate as Karen. The median wait time for a kidney is 3.6 years, according to the National Kidney Foundation. There are thousands of people on the national waiting list for kidneys because the number of deceased kidney donations falls far short of the need.

Living kidney donors can help bridge that gap. Did you know you can be a living kidney donor for someone like Karen in need of a lifesaving transplant? Learn more about the living kidney donor transplant program to find out how you could save a life.

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Thriving after a kidney transplant