To mark the 10th anniversary of the Paired Kidney Exchange program at Saint Barnabas Medical Center, 28 kidney transplant recipients and donors met for the first time at a Celebration of Life on March 31, 2014. In total, more than 80 people attended whose lives have been changed through kidney paired donation.
The evening highlighted a nine-pair kidney exchange chain -- one of the largest single-center kidney paired donation chains in the United States -- which took place at Saint Barnabas in September 2013 over a four-day period.
The Renal and Pancreas Transplant Division's Living Donor Paired Exchange Program allows patients who have a willing but incompatible donor the option of joining an exchange registry to be matched with donor/recipient pairs in the same situation. A new innovate Compatible Share Program allows patients who DO match, the opportunity participate in an exchange because it provides a chance to improve the recipient's long-term outcome through matching with a younger donor kidney or one with improved compatibility. The evening celebrated two individuals who unlocked chains so that others waiting could receive a transplant through compatible share.
In addition, four altruistic donors were also recognized for the selfless act of giving a kidney to someone whom they did not know. Barbara Miller's personal journey to becoming an altruistic donor began when her grandson was born six weeks premature with a kidney disorder and eventually required a transplant. While testing revealed she was a match, it was decided that another family member would donate a kidney. After witnessing the amazing transformation the transplant had for her grandson, she felt the desire to "give back". She explains, "If I was ready to give my kidney to my grandson, why not someone else."
Ms. Miller would tell those considering transplantation that it is an easy process and the team at Saint Barnabas was supportive and made it easy. They were sensitive to her feeling and the education and preparation was excellent. While many would consider Ms. Miller a hero, she simply wants to thank the transplant physicians and staff who have dedicated their lives to helping others.
Ms. Miller would tell those considering donation that she felt very prepared for the experience of donation and the team at Saint Barnabas was supportive and made it easy. They were sensitive to her feelings and the education and preparation was excellent. While many would consider Ms. Miller a hero, she simply wants to thank the transplant physicians and staff who have dedicated their lives to helping others.
More than 200 professionals from Saint Barnabas Medical Center work to meticulously orchestrate these transplant chain from the pre-transplant staff to the operating room, to post-transplant and everything in between. This evening was a testament to the transformative power of kidney donation to the life of an individual and their family.
The Barnabas Health Renal and Pancreas Transplant Division is the third largest program in the United States, transplanting close to 300 people each year of which half are living donor transplant. There are over 107,000 patients with kidney disease on the national waiting list with a current waiting time of five to seven years. Each day, many people die in this country unable to obtain an organ. Saint Barnabas has close to 1,700 people on our list who are waiting for a deceased donor kidney. Living donor transplants, on average, last about twice as long as deceased donor transplants, thus transplantation with a living donor kidney is considered the best treatment option for those with end stage renal disease.
For more information about the Renal and Pancreas Transplant Program at Saint Barnabas Medical Center, please call 973-322-5938 or visit www.transplantkidney.org.
Pictured at the event are Roseann (left) and Eugene (right) DeNova of Clifton, N.J., who had a chance to meet and thank Mr. Denova's kidney donor, Christine Dzwolak (center) of Robbinsville, N.J.
Contact: Samantha Anton, Assistant Director Marketing/Public RelationsSave Changes
Date: April 8, 2014