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She’s heard it often. Her name is who she is.
From members of the hospital guest relations staff to the transplant nurses – they all know Joy Araujo for her smile and positive attitude. She shows up for check ups and blood work with the same enthusiasm as walking onto the stage for a public performance.
In short, Joy Araujo, 29, lives life in what she calls the “awesome lane.”
Few people would know that it hasn’t always been easy.
At age 10, Araujo was diagnosed with C1q Nephropathy, one of many diseases causing Nephrotic Syndrome, a kidney disease that leads to large amounts of protein lost in the urine. At age 17 she received a transplant. But at age 25 her body rejected the kidney and she started on 11 hours of peritoneal dialysis daily.
This past July Araujo, who is under the care of IU Health Doctors William C. Goggins and Tim Tabor, received a new kidney from a deceased donor.
“She won the lottery. Not only is this is life-prolonging procedure; it makes her life a lot easier. She doesn’t have to do dialysis anymore,” said nephrologist Dr. Tim Taber, following her surgery.
In the months since her transplant Araujo, who has competed in pageants around the country, has focused on working out, staying healthy, and enjoying time with friends and family. She is also the founder of the Donor Appreciation Network, a non-profit organization that recognizes the efforts of living kidney donors.
“Since transplant, life has been glorious beyond my expectations. I’ve been able to work out stronger, travel more, meet new people and work harder towards my goals,” said Araujo. “I feel excellent. Friends keep commenting on how healthy I look but I genuinely feel healthy too. I feel incredibly blessed.”
- T.J. Banes