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Joy Araujo, Miss Indiana International, needs a new kidney

Posted at 8:29 AM, Jul 27, 2017
and last updated 2017-07-27 08:29:12-04

INDIANAPOLIS -- Joy Araujo is attending college, runs a non-profit organization and holds the title of Miss Indiana International. 

She does it all with a smile on her face and a positive attitude. You'd never know she has kidney disease and undergoes hours of dialysis on a daily basis.

"I could be swallowing in my depression, and saying 'I can't do anything because I am on dialysis,'" she said. "But that is not how I want to live my life. I want to live it with gusto. I want to go out and seize the day."

Araujo has lived with kidney disease since she was 10 years old. A few years ago she got the call she desperately needed -- a new kidney.

At 17, she had her first kidney transplant. But her body rejected it. And now she has to do about 11 hours of peritoneal dialysis per day.

She's waiting on her second kidney transplant, but there is a huge organ shortage. There are about 100,000 people in the United States waiting to receive a transplant. Only about 16 percent of people on the list get transplants each year.

If .06 percent of people in America donated a kidney, the list would go away, IU Health Transplant Program Medical Director Dr. Tim Taber said.

"Joy needs a transplant for A: To make her feel better, B: To make her live longer," Taber said. "And I think for her to be a happy, healthy person, you need to get off dialysis and be transplanted."

Araujo created the Donor Appreciation Network to help thank those who have offered to give her a kidney, and others who make the sacrifice.

A transplant doubles the life expectancy of the patient.

"With a transplant, I could go to school full-time," Araujo said. "I could travel. I could swim. I could do so many things that I just can't do right now."

Araujo is preparing to compete for a national crown in West Virginia for the Miss International title as the Hoosier state's queen.

"If I go to Miss International on dialysis, I know there is a dream that maybe the viewers have in their hearts that they are scared to pursue, or maybe they have a limitation, but they can go for it," she said. "If I can do it. I think anybody can."

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