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The Ultimate Gift: Donating a Kidney to Her Sister-in-Law Led to a New Passion

A former schoolteacher, Marian Reich took on a whole new cause after donating a kidney to a loved one. She's now a transplant ambassador, helping others "pay it forward" as well.

In this regular feature, we share stories of women who followed a new passion. We hope these stories may provide the insight and encouragement for others to try new paths.

Tell us your story here. 

Read stories of other women who have reinvented themselves here. 

Today, we’re happy to highlight the work of Marian Reich of Richmond Hill, Ontario in Canada. 

What kind of work or passion are you pursuing now?

I am a volunteer transplant ambassador. Ten years ago I donated a kidney to my sister-in-law, and as a living donor I share my experiences with others who are considering transplant. I meet with patients in clinics.

How old were you when you began in this new direction?

58

What did you do before you made this change?

Elementary school teacher.

What prompted you to make this change?

I wanted to pay it forward with my lived experience. If you had something someone needed to stay alive wouldn’t you give it to them?

living kidney donor

Marian Reich

What from your previous work or life situation helped you in your reinvention?

Communication skills. Information processing. Creativity.

Read More: Back to College: This Time with the Freedom to Explore

What were the biggest obstacles you had to overcome?

Working in health care field as I was totally unaware of its structures.

How are you overcoming them?

I became part of the team at the hospital through lots of visits and questions.

What fears have you faced?

Talking to strangers.

What kind of support did you receive in your reinvention?

Provincial structure and other transplant ambassadors.

Read More: Gearing Up for a Career Shift? Here’s a Cool New Path

How have you grown or how has your life improved as a result of taking on this new pursuit?

I am learning to manage a team of adults. I’m learning to ask for help when I need it. I am seeking solutions to barriers for living transplant recipients as part of a research project.

What advice would you give to other women at this age who are looking to reinvent themselves?

Find something as yet unexplored that you love to do.

How can readers find your business?

www.transplantambassadors.ca

By Marian Reich

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