ATLANTA - An Atlanta woman teaching abroad in South Africa is forced to come home. She's said goodbye to her students because she's in dire need of a new kidney.
Constance Collins told FOX 5 News she also needs to be closer to her family as she hopes to find the perfect match. The 31-year-old told us she's in a very vulnerable position. Her kidney is only working at two percent.
"It's not an easy road for sure," Collins, who is from the College Park area, explained.
It's the moments with her students that makes her tough journey a little more bearable.
"Just being with the kids every single day, it gives me life. It gives me energy. It gives me something to look forward to," she explained to FOX 5's Brian Hill.
That experience is the total opposite of what she's dealt with for several months to help her stay alive.
"At night, I'm hooked up to a machine through a catheter through my stomach. It's painful."
The 31-year-old needs a kidney transplant as soon as possible.
Finding the right match is a difficult process made worse by living internationally.
"I’ve just been getting routinely sick. I mean, I was so sick two weeks ago and my doctor said I could have actually had a stroke," she told us.
Later this week, she's arriving in Atlanta to be closer to her transplant hospital.
"So that they have the most up-to-date records for my blood and if I have any antibodies. I need to be closer to my family," she detailed.
Collins is optimistic that once she's here, she'll find her match.
"My biggest worry is that f I don't get the transplant that I'll be stuck on dialysis and it's hard on the body and it will shorten my life," she explained.
It's a life the Harvard graduate student said has much more to see and give.
"I want to live a long, healthy life," she told us.
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Collins plans to return to South Africa after receiving a transplant.
We're told to get started, anyone who is considering being a donor can contact Constance’s donor coordinator for more information at 404-605-4605.
Her blood type is O+. She told us she can receive a kidney from any O blood type.
If you'd like to learn more about becoming a donor, click here.