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My Story Part 1

#BlessingOutOfTragedy #DaddyDaughterKidneyExchange #EcoliBacteria #HOLSTRitWasBorn #Hydration #IJustWantedToHelp #KansasCity #KidneyFailure #KidneyTransplant #LifeIsHard #MOMpreneur #MyStory #SmallBusinessKC

My name is Tamra Johnson and I’ve been a stay-at-home mom to 5 daughters for 16 years.  In February 2013 we went on a family vacation and came home with E-coli bacteria.  We were all fine except our 2nd oldest daughter, Maleena, who was 9 at the time.  Maleena spent 6 weeks in the hospital with all of her major organs being affected in one way or another.  Most of them eventually recovered except her kidneys which ended up shutting down completely.  We were realizing that life was never going to be the same as they were talking about daily dialysis at home and kidney transplants.  In a matter of weeks we had gone from 5 healthy children to one with ESRD (End Stage Renal Disease). Maleena had done Hemodialysis and now we were being trained on how to do Peritoneal Dialysis every night at home.  We were learning about many different meds, how, when and why to give them, we were being trained on how to give her shots, we were learning about her extensive food restriction list all the while trying to grasp the fact that she needed a kidney transplant. 

On January 20, 2014 Maleena’s father donated one of his kidney’s to her and it was an amazing sight to watch that new kidney do it’s job from the get-go.  Maleena’s biggest responsibilities after transplant were to take all her meds right on time (8:00am & 8:00pm every day) and drink 140 oz or just a little more than 4 Liters of non-caffeinated fluid every day to keep her kidney healthy and hydrated.  This is a lot of liquid for anyone, let alone a 10 year old.  I had watched this child for over a year suffer through so much and I just wanted to help, in some way, make her life a little easier.

Maleena was drinking so much each day and it was quite a struggle so I decided she needed a water bottle holder to keep her drink close to her and easily accessible.  She was constantly looking for her drink, dropping it or only had one hand to use because she was carrying her water bottle everywhere.  I wanted to solve these problems for her and she really needed to be hands-free so she could go about her day without having to worry about carrying her drink all the time.  I created a product specifically for her that, little did I know, would turn into a business called HOLSTRit.

The HOLSTR is a hands-free drink bottle holder that can be worn with either a waist strap or as a cross-body strap.  It will adjust to different size bottles.  Each HOLSTR comes with a carabiner for hanging keys, sanitizer, sunscreen…anything with a loop that can hang on the carabiner (Maleena hangs her medicine bottle on there too).  There are 2 pockets in the back.  The large pocket will hold your phone if you choose and is headphone accessible.  The smaller pocket will accommodate credit cards, cash, ID.  

I've created a product that will simply and fashionably store the most important personal items that we never leave the house without and the main function of the product helps us to stay well hydrated in the process.  On the next blog post I’ll talk about why we chose to start the business and how in the world a SAHM with no business experience is figuring out how to do it.  Stay tuned… 


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