"You have to have faith in people. Never underestimate their strength of spirit and compassion.”
“Obstacles are invitations to accept special challenges,” says Linda Daee, reciting a quote a friend once shared with her. “Choose to accept the challenge and the gift you receive is learning that you are not given anything you can’t handle.”
When Linda was 18 years old, she was diagnosed with an aggressive form of lupus, an autoimmune disease. Over the next three years, she was treated with chemotherapy due to severe anemia, pericarditis, pulmonary edema, declining kidney function and many other ill effects. Eventually she was well enough to return to college and completed her bachelor’s degree in sociology with plans to pursue medical social work. Over the next several years, she explored career options and discovered an unexpected talent as an interior designer.
In 2002, she celebrated marriage to her longtime love on a beach in Mexico. The following year, Linda again became severely anemic and faced a new challenge. The years of chemotherapy used to treat the lupus had destroyed her bone marrow. Her survival now depended upon a bone marrow transplantation (BMT). When testing of family members yielded no matching donor, a search was launched through the National Marrow Donor Program. In October 2003, thanks to the generosity of a stranger, Linda underwent a BMT. Over the next year, with the lupus eliminated and no longer wreaking havoc, she slowly regained her strength. But her challenges were not over.
In 2004, Linda contracted pneumonia and the antibiotics she required caused permanent failure to her already weakened kidneys. Her long-term survival now hinged on a kidney transplant. Once again, extraordinary generosity touched Linda’s life. In October 2005, Linda received a kidney from her husband’s best friend. Today, Linda feels better than ever. The lupus is gone, her bone marrow is healthy and her new kidney is fully functioning. “I am blessed in so many ways,” says Linda. Describing the compassion of the staff at City of Hope and the generosity that has touched her life, she says, “You have to have faith in people. Never underestimate their strength of spirit and compassion.”