As an avid cross country biker, Tom Armstrong was well aware of the many twists and turns that a road can take. In 1994, his life’s road took a couple of very unexpected and wild turns. Tom organizes cross country bike tours on historical trails across the U.S. Seven days into the Oregon Trail bike tour, Tom and a friend were struck by a drunk driver. Tom woke up the next day in the Good Samaritan Hospital. Besides learning of all his injuries, Tom was asked a shocking question by the doctor. He asked if Tom had kidney disease. Tom was only in his mid-30s and was healthy and in fabulous shape prior to the accident.
They continued to monitor Tom’s blood while he was in the hospital and after his release, but his numbers just got worse. They found that he had IgA nephropathy. He was put on dialysis while they began testing his siblings for a donor match. Nearly a year after the accident, Tom would receive a kidney from his older brother.
Tom became acquainted with the Nebraska Kidney Association at the time of his transplant and has been an advocate for them since. He does a few speaking engagements for them and has organized a fundraiser bike tour in the past. He also helps to spread their message of the importance of being an organ donor. Tom shared, “It’s important for people to be aware of the possibilities, to sign a donor card and to let their family know of their wishes to be a donor.”