Meet Alicia Battle
I thought I had things all figured out: I would finish graduate school, get a job, get married and have children. In my mind, the future was set in stone – that was until a life-changing experience taught me otherwise.
I was diagnosed with kidney failure in 2001. I still remember how it all began with me feeling weak, with my body swelling up, but kidney failure was the last thing on my mind. I thought it was stress, until I finally went to the emergency room and they diagnosed me. I needed immediate dialysis, and eventually needed a kidney transplant.
In 2003, my wait for a kidney ended. My younger sister donated a kidney to me. After the transplant, I felt like a new person almost immediately. The transplant gave me the energy that I needed to continue working. Today, I am the Senior Manager for Career Centers at Goodwill of North Georgia and I often share my experience to motivate others. I meet people who are discouraged because of the things that stand between them and a paycheck: lay-offs, limited skills and education, language barriers and disabilities. As someone who knows what it’s like to have things not go as planned, I tell others about my illness and transplant to show people that obstacles arise, but they can be overcome. It’s all about your attitude. One of the lessons I love to share is about setting goals. Before the diagnosis, I hadn’t prepared for any what-ifs. Now I am able to help my staff and Goodwill job seekers create a “Plan B.” I realize that we all have to be more realistic when we set our goals because we never know what will happen.