What is a milestone birthday? Would you consider it the year you turn 19? Or maybe when you turn 30 or 40 years old?
Well, Shawn Frehner celebrated her 50th year in a big way. In fact, almost a year later, she is still celebrating. She is on a trek to do 50 adventures before she turns 51 years old. She wants to do things that she never has done before, or things she’s always wanted to try. And she is doing just that.
So, what are the things she has done this past year? Well, she has done everything from jumping out of a plane, flying a plane and getting an Ashiatsu Massage (the masseuse uses gravity and feet), to pole dancing in a pink unicorn outfit. Yes, she did all that … and more.
The most meaningful thing she said she has done is donate a kidney. Not just donate it, but to a stranger. How that worked was she went on a paired kidney exchange. According to Hopkins University, “Since 2001, Johns Hopkins Comprehensive Transplant Center has participated in paired kidney exchanges. A paired kidney exchange, also known as a ‘kidney swap,’ occurs when a living kidney donor is incompatible with the recipient, and so exchanges kidneys with another donor/recipient pair.
Two live donor transplants would occur. Suppose there were two donor/recipient pairs, Donor and Recipient 1 and Donor and Recipient 2:
• Donor 1 would give a kidney to Recipient 2.
• Donor 2 would then give a kidney to Recipient 1.
This kidney paired donation transplant enables two incompatible recipients to receive healthy, more compatible kidneys. All medically eligible donor/recipient pairs may participate in the paired kidney exchange program.”
“To give the gift of life, and for it to be successful was rewarding,” Frehner said. She has healed nicely, and all was a success for all donors.
The most fun experience she has had this year was the fire-eating class, which was also her very first adventure of the year. She has since displayed her talent to Lincoln County at a talent show.
Were all these adventures planned ahead of time? Frehner reported not at all. Most of them were spontaneous things that came up as she went along. The adventure she was the most nervous about was when she did the Sky Jump off the Stratosphere in Las Vegas. That was the closest to bungee jumping you can get without bungee jumping. “I am deathly afraid of bungee jumping but this is the year to conquer some of those fears. Nope, I didn’t bungee jump, but I did the next best thing, just short of bungee jumping.”
The point of these adventures is to not hold back. To do things in spite of fear. Her advice to others is to do just that. “Focus on life, see what you would like to do better or to change, and then do it,” she said. “Even if it’s one thing a year. Do not let life pass you by. Just enjoy life.”