John Lennon once said, “Life is what happens when you’re making other plans.” Allison Batson, Class of 2009, knows that truth all too well.
Batson knew what she wanted to do with her life after watching a nurse care for her mother, who was dying from sepsis in 2001. She remembers the nurse calling her mother not by her name or “Mrs. Shepard,” but “mom.” Batson says the nurse not only used the endearing term, she also cared for Batson’s mother as if it were true.
“At that moment I thought to myself, if I could make just one person feel as loved and important as she is making us feel right now, then I will consider myself successful in whatever I do,” Batson explained at Georgia Perimeter College’s 2012 Nursing Alumni Dinner in November.
In 2004, Batson enrolled in the Nursing program at Georgia Perimeter College. After she studied for six weeks, however, life made different plans for her. Batson’s husband was laid off from work and, with two of her four children in college, she had to leave GPC to support her family.
Batson took an entry-level job at Emory University Hospital and within a year was promoted to patient liaison. She worked hard, provided for her family and two years later was able to resume her studies in the nursing program at GPC.
Upon her graduation from Georgia Perimeter in 2009, she became a registered nurse and again changed jobs at Emory. Batson found her true calling as a nurse on the liver, kidney and pancreas transplant floor.
In January 2012, life happened once again when a patient in kidney failure was transferred to her floor.
Clay Tabor had just graduated from college and proposed to his girlfriend when he found out he was in complete kidney failure due to Goodpasture’s Syndrome. He was supposed to be on the renal floor, but there were no beds available, so he was transferred to the transplant floor. Batson became his nurse–and his kidney donor.
When Batson saw what lay ahead of Tabor, in life and in the hospital, she knew she wanted to help. Once she found out she was a perfect match to donate a kidney to Tabor, she leapt at the opportunity.
“People ask me all of the time how I made this decision. It wasn’t a decision; it was just the right thing to do. When I approached my family with this idea, they were nothing but supportive,” says Batson.
The news of Batson’s sacrifice spread throughout the nation and appeared in medical journals as far away as Australia. She received hundreds of letters from fellow nurses, medical professionals and patients praising her selflessness and sharing their stories with her.
Because of her unusual contribution and her dedication to nursing, Batson was recognized as a 2012 Top Ten AJC Excellence in Nursing Award Winner and a finalist for Johnson & Johnson’s Amazing Nurses 2012, a national award.
Batson is a member of the International Transplant Nurses Society and serves on the Patient and Family Advisory board for Transplant Services at Emory University Hospital. She was guest speaker at GPC’s 2012 Nursing Alumni Association Dinner, where she was awarded the Outstanding Nursing Alumna of the Year.