Thrive by IU Health

September 08, 2022

Two organ transplants later - She’s advocating for life-saving donation

IU Health University Hospital

Two organ transplants later - She’s advocating for life-saving donation

A former school teacher is showing gratitude by championing for a cause.

By IU Health Senior Journalist, T.J. Banes,

For nearly half her life, Amy Davis suffered the side effects of juvenile diabetes. In her adult life, the disease grew from uncertainty to fear.

“I couldn’t detect the highs from the lows. I was on one of the first continuous glucose monitors and unfortunately, technology wasn’t as good as it is now,” said Davis, 53. “By the time it detected my sugar it had already dropped so low it was dangerous.”

For more than 20 years, Davis taught high school psychology and was open about her condition with her students. Twenty-nine years ago she married her husband, Jeff. They have two adult sons.

“When my children were small, I was scared to drive with them because my sugar levels would drop. My husband barely slept because three of seven nights I’d drop so low I’d have convulsions. I was afraid my kids would find me dead,” said Davis.

Those were the words she shared with IU Health Dr. Jonathan Fridell, when she weighed the risk for a pancreas transplant.

She received that transplant in 2012. Five years later she received a kidney transplant at IU Health. She remains in the care of Dr. Asif Sharfuddin, who specializes in nephrology and kidney disease.

“I’m feeling pretty awesome. I no longer have a fear of driving or not waking up,” said Davis. To protect her immunity system, she is no longer in the classroom. She now works remotely as a health coach.

Amy Davis preparing to rappell down a building

“This year I decided I was going to do as many things as I could to raise awareness about the importance of organ donation,” said Davis, who lives in Greenville, Ohio. She has participated in two 5K events and has registered for two more, including the Indiana Donor Network, “Walk to Save Lives” on October 8th.

In addition to raising funds, Davis raises awareness. She wears t-shirts that announce she is a “transplant survivor,” and “an organ donor recipient.” She also sports a license plate on her car with the words: “Transplant recipient.” Twice a year she sends a “thank you” note to her donor families.

Amy Davis rappelling down a building

In one of her most challenging feats to date, Davis recently took part in Cleveland’s “Over the Edge,” event. Participants rappelled down the side of the 23-story Oswald Centre.

“I am still here today because of the selfless choice made by two organ donors. I believe I personally owe it to these unknown hero angels watching over me to educate everyone about the importance of organ donation,” said Davis. “That means conquering my fears and living life to the fullest.”

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