Vikki’s Donation Story

Vikki Tulcus is an amazing advocate for organ and tissue donation. She has spent the last 10 years of her career building organ and tissue donation awareness and encouraging Illinois residents to register as lifesaving donors. Vikki’s journey within the field of donation became very personal in 2009 when she was diagnosed with a renal disease that will eventually require a kidney transplant.

Throughout April, Vikki is featured in Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White’s commercial to promote organ and tissue donation. Below, Vikki tells her story in both video and print. 

For the past 10 years, I have worked within the field of organ and tissue donation. My roles have, primarily, allowed me to work with donation recipients and donor families to promote organ and tissue donation throughout Illinois. I began my career with Gift of Hope Organ & Tissue Donor Network where I gained valuable insight into donation and my eyes were opened to the overwhelming need for registered organ and tissue donors.

In 2007, I joined the Illinois Secretary of State Organ/Tissue Donor Program as the Community Outreach Coordinator for Chicago where I continue to work tirelessly to build organ and tissue donation awareness. My job responsibilities have me traveling the state and working closely with Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White to encourage Illinois residents to register as lifesaving organ and tissue donors.

My personal and professional lives became enmeshed on November 13, 2009, when I became extremely ill. I knew something was drastically wrong when breathing became difficult and I grew too weak to walk. I thought it was just an extreme asthma attack and went to the emergency room after my condition worsened. My situation was critical, and doctors worked to save my life. Within hours, I was diagnosed with Wegner’s Syndrome—a rare, autoimmune disease that is chronic and can be fatal. I was told that I was in renal failure and required immediate dialysis. 

Since that day, my life has changed dramatically. I continue to work full time for the Illinois Secretary of State and juggle the responsibilities of daily life. But, each night, I hook myself up to a machine that spends the next 10 hours doing the work that my kidneys no longer can do. My name has been added to the national transplant waiting list for a kidney. Each day, I hope for my lifesaving gift. Unfortunately, in Illinois, the average wait time for a kidney transplant is approximately seven years.  

As I wait for a new kidney, I find hope in the stories of recipients who are grateful for their second chance at life. When I search for a meaning for my illness, I am inspired by stories of heroes who have selflessly donated their organs and tissue to save others. Each day that I wait, I am hopeful that a donor will save my life.  

– Vikki Tulcus, Community Outreach Coordinator, Illinois Secretary of State’s Organ/Tissue Donor Program

Give Vikki and more than 5,000 Illinois residents a second chance at life by registering your decision to be an organ and tissue donor at DonateLifeIllinois.org! Learn more about Vikki and the Illinois Secretary of State’s Organ/Tissue Donor Program at LifeGoesOn.com.

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11 Responses to Vikki’s Donation Story

  1. Renee Belsky says:

    Vicki, my mother waited for a kidney transplant for almost 5 years. Neeedless to say, dialysis took a toll on her body. After a very successful transplant at U of C Hospital she passed away 8 days later due to complications that were missed by the doctors. Her organs shut down one by one, by the time they had realized something was wrong. I am a donor, it just breaks my heart that I was unable to help her because our blood types did not match. If you don’t mind my asking, what blood type are you?

  2. jan whelan says:

    Vicki,
    I want to donate a kidney to you. My husband has kidney cancer and just lost a kidney. However, he is doing fine. This is not a joke.

  3. Good luck Vicki. I hope you will find your peace.
    David Smith,
    Celexa pregnancy and birth defects

  4. Craig Kocmoud says:

    Regetfully Vicki passed away today leaving a long list of greatfull people she has touch throughout her life. We should all take a look a what ones persons dedication to helping others turned out to be her own, may you rest in peace and may all your hard work and efforts be passed on to someone as caring and true to life as you were to us.
    The Class of Westmont High School (87)
    Craig Kocmoud

  5. Kevin Sinclair says:

    Vicki, may all that you did for people never be forgotten. Godspeed.

  6. Lisa vandeursen says:

    Vikki was just an amazing person and spirit. Friends since grade school, I do remember the day she became sick. It was a blur. I thought she would be good to go within a year. It was hard to keep in touch, living 1200 miles away. but we did. And it sucked not hearing from her recently. Her legacy lives on, we are all donors. We all miss her dimples. We all lost a friend 2 days ago. The world lost an amazing advocate.

  7. Tad Artry says:

    Kidney illness is oftentimes known as renal disease. Polycistic kidney illness is a widespread misspelling of polycystic kidney disease. Grownup polycystic kidney illness is usually an unique disorder from infantile polycystic kidney disease. Adult polycystic kidney illness is often a genetic condition that is inherited in an autosomal dominant style. Kidney Illness in Cats Persistent kidney illness is actually a reasonably typical disorder in cats, in particular geriatric cats. Kidney Illness in Cats Chronic kidney illness is a reasonably typical condition in cats, especially geriatric cats. Cats with current kidney illness may also be far more prone to pyelonephritis simply because they generate dilute urine.`

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  8. ed Weinberg says:

    Dear Vicki (may you rest in peace) and your family..
    My name is Ed Weinberg…my brother gave me a kidney 13 years ago…every time I see the commercial I do not know whether to cry or smile and say THANK YOU!
    May you rest in peace..as you were and still are a HERO to all.
    THANK YOU!!!!!!!

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