My name is Shauna Carroll Anderson. I have become an advocate for organ cloning recently. I wanted to explain who I am and why I feel this cause is so important.
I thought I should begin this letter by introducing myself on a more personal level. I have been living in Florida since I was three years old. My father was in the Navy. He retired from the Navy when I was diagnosed with my kidney disease. I was nine. My Father was going to move up north and teach electronics for a University; but my staff of Doctors said the winters would be to harsh for me. He became the supervisor at Walt Disney for the maintenance and electronics division. My mother worked at the Sheriff’s Department as the evidence technician from the time I was six until she was diagnosed with terminal cancer in 1993.
I remained at 45 percent use of my kidneys until I was seventeen. My father then gave me one of his kidneys. The adopted organ only lasted for five years. At that time I was put on dialysis. I was to receive a cadaver kidney. This meant I would go on a list. I would then wait up to two or more years for an available kidney from a deceased person. The average life span for a transplanted cadaver kidney is five years. While I was on dialysis I became more ill than ever expected. After only three months I became so ill my doctor pleaded for a volunteer in my family to give me a kidney if at all possible. He stated I would not live much longer on the dialysis machine. I was unable to eat, drink, walk, or function in any normal manner while on receiving dialysis treatments. The pain and torture of being drained by the machine cannot be truly explained by words. My mother was the only member of my family who was a compatible match. She agreed to give me the kidney immediately.
I received her kidney and was put on anti-rejection medication for the second time in my life. The medicines suppressed my immune system to keep my body from being strong enough to kill the foreign object placed in my body, my mother’s kidney. Because the immune system is suppressed I had no defense from natural colds, bacteria and other simple viruses that the body can usually fight with healthy immune system. The Immune Suppressants also have side effects that are quite severe. Some of the more extreme side effects are: nausea, vomiting, migraines, abnormal hair growth on face, edema, high blood pressure, sensitivity to sunlight and slow healing process, promotion of cancer of several types, fatigue, memory loss, thinning hair, extreme pain, increased appetite, rounded face and abdomen, and others.
The year my mother gave me her kidney was also 1993. She literally gave me her kidney and was immediately diagnosed with Ovarian Cancer. My father retired and, he took care of both of us following our surgery. At that time he helped us recover from our surgery and her cancer. Now, he is caring for her progressed state of cancer and my current and third time confronting kidney failure.
My father knew my health would never be complete enough for me to live a normal life; but he tried to give me as normal a life as possible. He helped enroll me in a home schooling program. He then set up a job for me working part time at Walt Disney. He knew I could not work very hard, so he arranged a minor position with little to no physical duties. He finally paid for me to finish college and the university. He knew I would never be well enough to use my degree. He just wanted me to live as normal and happy of a life as possible.
I decided to go to University of Central Florida for Exceptional Education and Varying Exceptionalities. That is a long way of saying I was able to work with and teach all kinds of handicapped children. I did do some voluntary work with children for a short time. My illness now has progressed to the point that my kidneys only work at 30 percent. I feel extremely fatigued in attempting to accomplish daily rituals such as showering, grocery shopping, or even going for a ride in the car. Working with children now is completely out of the question.
I believe that if I ever get a cloned kidney I would love to work with children again. It would be nice to feel useful. I have been taken care of my entire life. I have been on immune suppressants for too long to have children; in fact they have caused me to grow a cyst on my ovaries that is making it necessary for me to have a complete hysterectomy this spring.
I always that thought when my mother’s kidney inside me died I would die soon after. Then the announcement of cloning became the headline news. I first thought since they could clone an animal that I could walk into an office and some genetic doctor could grow a new kidney. I did not understand all of the arguments involved with why we should or should not clone. To me it was a matter of life or death. I did not see a logical reason for there to be an argument. Now I think about my illness all the time. I feel myself becoming more tired and weaker as months go by. My thought process has changed from believing I would immediately be saved by the miracle of genetics to being cognitive that it may not ever be so. I understanding that the concept of cloning in any form is an element that must be picked apart and explained to the public, press, and influential communities. That is why I have begun the quest to write to everyone I can think of about cloning. As my health slowly drains out of me, I feel an even stronger urge to explain why it is so important to allow organ cloning. I know that someday there will be a person in my position who needs a transplant desperately; but will have no compatible donor available.
The thought of working with children, of not depending on family to care for me, and of having choices of what I want to do with the rest of my life are inconceivable to me. These things may never happen for me. I know that I have a time limit, and I am reminded more of it day by day. My life may not have been useful in the conventional way a normal persons is; but I pray that I am able to be a useful example for others. I can explain why people need to be saved by cloning. If I die it will make my plea more profound than it is at present. If my loss of life due to a lack of an organ (kidney) draws the attention of the press and the media, then my life shall have had purpose. If that attention causes people to group together and save people lives through the advancement of cloning, then my life shall have had the most important purpose I could ever of hoped to have been given.
These are not just words I have written, but my thoughts, pleas, and prayers. I desire and plead that everyone who has any compassion and humanity to please listen to my words and try to understand the meaning behind them. I am not just one sick girl begging the scientific community to save her life. I am someone who is pleading for everyone to understand that cloning can and will save lives. If one life is saved by my writing to anyone who will take the time to listen, then my life has been was worth living.
Shauna Carroll Anderson
|Randolfe H. Wicker – world’s first human cloning activist.|
Director of Clone Rights United Front
Mr. Wicker founded the world’s first pro human cloning group, The Clone Rights United Front February 26, 1997, immediately after the announcement of Dolly’s birth. He organized the first demonstration in support of human cloning on Saturday, March 1,1997, which was covered live by WABC-AM radio. He spoke spoke out against the National Bioethics Advisory Commission’s proposed ban of human cloning on nationally televised newscasts and has been the subject of coverage by the New York Times Sunday Magazine and USA Today. He has appeared on the Leeza Show, the Bey Buchanan Radio Show, the Alan Combs Radio Show, and the Curtis Sliwa Radio Show. Mr. Wicker is the Director of the Clone Rights United Front, and Spokesman for the Reproductive Cloning Network. In the picture he is wearing his “Yes to Human Cloning” button. Mr. Wicker is often overwhelmed with e-mail.
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