A Troy lecturer has self-published her first book detailing her journey as a living organ donor, hoping to inspire and uplift others with her story.
Dr. Kelly C. Berwager, a lecturer of art and design and Graduate Level Coordinator at Troy University from Hoover, said that her experience as a living organ donor inspired her to write a book chronicling her journey.
“My experience of being a living organ donor back in 2014 was life-changing for me,” Berwager said. “After I began telling the story to people, I realized I probably need to write it all down so I wouldn’t forget it and maybe others would consider becoming a living organ donor.”
Dr. Berwager said the experience was much more challenging than she expected.
“As a first-time author, it was much harder than I thought,” Berwager said. “Although the story was my story, it was very emotional.
“I journaled a lot during 2014, so I had a lot of writings to pull from, but my writings revealed some things I had totally forgotten about: some were funny, some were sad, some were very difficult to relive,” Berwager said.
Berwager said that the most special part about book writing process is getting positive feedback from readers.
“The excitement of seeing that first proof copy of the book was extremely special because I wasn’t sure it was ever going to happen,” Berwager said. “Now hearing what others are saying about it after reading it has been the most special part of the whole journey.
“People are emailing and texting me about how moved they are by how transparent I tried to be. Our ‘social media’ facades don’t always let people see the real us, so I tried to show the good, the bad, and the ugly in this story,” Berwager said.
“At the core, Kelly Berwager outs into prose a message of faith, hope, and love. A life’s work and journey that manifests itself in the most incredible gift one can give: the give of life,” said Dr. Jayme Locke, MD, director of the Incompatible Kidney and KPD Program at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. “It is a message that transcends all that is wrong in the world and reminds you of the goodness in each of us.”
Berwager hopes readers will find her book motivating and inspiring.
“I hope people will be uplifted by my story,” Berwager said. “It is written from a Christian perspective, but it also demonstrates how perseverance in all of us pays off.
“It literally took me an entire year to become a donor, so it was not an overnight decision, but I kept going because I thought it was what I was supposed to do. It became something more than just about me….it was something bigger than myself,” Berwager said.