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"I only knew growing up in a hospital" FGCU alum advocates for kidney health awareness

Posted at 3:46 PM, Mar 30, 2024
and last updated 2024-03-30 15:46:27-04

FORT MYERS, Fla. — Makenzie Morgan was diagnosed with kidney disease at just 2 years old.

She wrote The Kidney Chronicles book series. It teaches children how to deal with kidney disease and to better understand it.

"I only knew growing up in a hospital," she said.

"I only knew growing up in a hospital" FGCU alum advocates for kidney health awareness
Makenzie and Olive

Her pet pig Olive is the main character in the book. It's based on Morgan's kidney health journey. She received her first transplant when she was 7 years old. 1 in 7 people have the same diagnosis.

"I am late stage four of kidney failure, this is on my transplanted kidney," she said. She is on the cusp of looking for a new donor.

Savanna Lanza is the CEO of the National Kidney Foundation. She says the early signs can be invisible.

"A lot of times, patients will go in for something like headaches, or just like feeling tired and sluggish, and then they'll do the testing and find out their kidneys are close to failing and they might have to go on dialysis," Lanza said.

She says this is why education around kidney health is important. That's exactly what Morgan and Olive are working to do through the series. She received thousands of dollars through FGCU's Runway Programwhich helped Makenzie write and publish her book.

"When I think about the entire journey as a whole I don't think I would have ever been shown this opportunity, had I not had kidney disease," she said.

It's gratitude and a mini pig, helping her find her purpose.

"I'm appreciative of all the ups and downs that I have had because all of those ups have given me everything that I have today," Morgan said.