The Courage to Live
ISBN 0-9710988-3-2
   T H E
   C O U R A G E
   T O
   L I V E

        My Personal Journey with God
        A Kidney Patient's Story

      Carmen Buelvas Critchlow

Price: US $14.95
ISBN 0-9710988-3-2

National Kidney Foundation

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A B O U T    T H E    B O O K

Highlights of The Courage to Live:

  • Details the twenty-year physical and emotional battle Carmen and her family have fought against Kidney Disease;
  • Shares how in a powerful way this uninvited “battle” has been transformed into a spiritual journey with God;
  • Describes in clear, understandable terms the implications of kidney failure and the reality of dialysis;
  • Invites readers to reflect on what organ donation can mean to a recipient family;
  • Tells the compelling untold story of thousands of families whose finances can be destroyed by a health crisis;
  • Challenges us all to think again about our own faith, how we share in community, and how we respond to God’s invitation of growth in our own lives.

The Courage to Live is a memorable story about overcoming adversity with hefty doses of love, faith, community, humor and personal courage.


“Carmen’s book is inspired and inspiring. With easily understood explanations of End Stage Renal Disease and the sharing of faith lessons learned, she opens the heart’s door for others to live ‘in the valley of the shadow of death.’ As she writes, ‘It does not have to be a weakness, but an opportunity to be creative; use it as a learning tool to grow in Christ.’”

—Pastor Mark Thompson,      Bellevue United Methodist

“This is a must read for those persons who are dealing and coping with Kidney Disease or if you have a loved one who has been affected by it. Hemodialysis and all that is associated with it can be so complicated to understand; however, Carmen allows the reader to comprehend it as if it were elementary.”

—Dr. George A. Adam, M.D.

       Nephrologist & Director, Kidney Health Clinic

“This document is a testament to a courageous woman of immense will, who persevered and overcame some of the worst challenges in order to live and treasure every moment that God has granted to her.”

—Dr. Luis Toledo, M.D.      Kidney Transplant Surgeon

* If you would like to submit reader comments, we'd appreciate hearing your reflections on Carmen's story as told in The Courage to Live. Please send your feedback to

Now available in soft cover edition.
Price: US $14.95
ISBN 0-9710988-3-2

The Book       The Author      Order Now

Organ Donation Information
Organ Donation

A B O U T     T H E    A U T H O R

Carmen Critchlow

Originally born in Panama, Carmen Buelvas Critchlow was sent by her family to the United States to acquire an education at the young age of thirteen. As a little girl, she dreamed of studying medicine and returning to help her people.

In her early twenties as a young mother of two small children, Carmen faced her first crisis with Kidney Disease. Her physical, emotional, financial and spiritual struggle against the many complications of the disease have spanned two decades, two kidney transplants and more brushes with death than most of us imagine possible in one lifetime.

Overcoming the dismal odds again and again, Carmen has become a strong advocate for her "colleague" patients and for organ donation, which for more than 75,000 individuals waiting in the U.S. alone, WILL spell the difference between life and death.

With her own special commitment to education, Carmen has developed a resource library for patients and families at her local Hemodialysis Center in Battle Creek, Michigan. She has spearheaded the formation of local support groups on quality of life that is possible on dialysis. She gives a great deal of time to encouraging other patients who have had or are facing organ transplants. As a more official volunteer, Carmen works with the Kidney Foundation and the Gift of Life Agency to distribute literature and educate the public about the need for organ donation. She is even helping the Gift of Life Agency translate their materials into Spanish and frequently serves as a translator at the local hospital on behalf of Hispanic patients.

That little girl could never have known that her struggle with Kidney Disease would catapult her into her own special mission of health education, one person at a time. Carmen Buelvas Critchlow is a woman from whom we can all learn important life lessons.

Carmen lives with her husband, David, in the country outside Battle Creek. They are the proud parents of two children, Peter and Angelina, and one grandson, Alex. Their home is often frequented by visitors who are intrigued by David's reptile farm and tropical plants—yes, even grown in Michigan.

The Book       The Author      Order Now

Organ Donation Information
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