Venetta’s Story

Venetta Pottinger grew up in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. She was diagnosed with diabetes at age 12, but her larger health battle began at age 26 when she contracted an infection. In early 2013, with her kidney function declining, Venetta began dialysis. Shortly after, Venetta started seeing ‘strings’ in her vision which doctors determined were a result of damage done to the blood vessels brought on by diabetes. Although she underwent laser surgery, she eventually lost her sight.

Today, Venetta relies on dialysis three days a week to stay alive while she waits for a kidney/pancreas transplant. With a hopeful demeanor, she continues to take on the challenges and joys of her daily life – cooking, cleaning and braiding her daughter and boyfriend’s hair.

In January 2015, Venetta volunteered as a mission dancer at the National Kidney Foundation of Wisconsin’s Spotlight on Life which promotes organ, tissue and eye donation. Her tango brought the entire audience to their feet. Through her health journey, she has become an advocate for organ, tissue and eye donation in the African-American community.

“If we don’t sign up to be a donor, we’re not letting the next generation grow,” said Venetta. “Wouldn’t you want to know, even though you left early, you’re leaving something great behind for somebody? Save a life!”

See more of Venetta’s story, and watch her dance video, at