New mother receives kidney from stranger – Colorado Living Donor Day

Posted on 13. Jun, 2017 in In The News

9News
 
DENVER – The wait was short compared to most for Molly Wright, who made it off Colorado’s organ transplant waiting list when a stranger volunteered to donate a kidney.

 
“She said that her faith brought her there, and she talked to God, and it was what she was meant to do,” Wright said of Holly Ross, her kidney donor. Ross had worked with Wright’s mother at a church food bank, where Wright’s mom had passed out flyers about Molly’s need for a kidney.Ross took the flyer home, and two weeks later shared with Wright’s mother that she had passed the first test to donate a kidney to Molly. “And I just knew,” Ross said. “I knew God wanted me to do it. There was just such a peace. In my heart, I just, I knew this was something I was going to do.”
 

“It was amazing,” Wright said. “I’ve had friends and family offer to get tested. But this was a complete stranger. She just thought about other people and you know, wanted to help, and that, that has always blown my mind about people.” Wright needed the organ after getting very sick in May 2015, shortly before giving birth to her son Nolan.
 

She was diagnosed with HELLP syndrome, an unusual form of pre-eclampsia that is considered to be a life-threatening pregnancy complication. The elementary school P.E. teacher had a stroke and a seizure in the hospital and gave birth to her first and only child by urgent c-section. Afterward, she had a hysterectomy due to an infection in her uterus, and her kidneys didn’t work. “Hence the dialysis,” Wright said. “Once I was strong enough and my infection went away, I could leave the hospital. But my kidneys still weren’t, weren’t working.”
 

The new mom had to spend about 14 hours per week doing dialysis, simply to stay alive. “To be a brand new mother – to have a baby and not be able to truly be there for that child – and not know that you’re going to be there for that child – that’s a pain that most people can’t imagine,” Ross said.
 

In December 2015, Wright got on the kidney transplant waiting list through Presbyterian/St. Luke’s Medical Center. Her family and community then launched a search to find a living donor. The campaign included flyers, a Facebook page and t-shirts created by her students at Prairie Crossing Elementary School in Parker. A few months later, Ross offered to donate. Whether they like it or not, they’re family is part of our family now,” Wright said. “We’ve just kind of adopted my donor and her family.”
 

By proclamation, Gov. John Hickenlooper recently established June 13th each year as ‘Living Donor Day’ in Colorado. The proclamation says the number of people on the organ transplant waiting list in Colorado has increased by 50% over the past 10 years, compared to the national rate of 25.6%.
 

It says 95% of the 2,516 Coloradans on the list are in need of a liver or kidney, organs that can be donated by a living person.
“The recipients of a living donor kidney transplant experience much better outcomes than an ordinary deceased donor transplant,” Presbyterian/St. Luke’s transplant surgeon Dr. Ben Vernon said. “And we can do the transplant when the donor and the recipient are ready. No more waiting. Right now, the average waiting time to get to the top of our list in the United States is about 6 or 7 years.”
 

“An average lifespan for a living donor kidney is about 18 to 20 years, as opposed to a deceased donor kidney that on an average lasts about 8 to 10 years,” Medical Director of the transplant program at Presbyterian/St. Luke’s Dr. Vidya Bhandaram said. “Patients get out of the hospital much sooner. The rejection rates are lower. Complications are lower with living donor kidneys.”
 

Gov. Hickenlooper’s proclamation says if one of every 3,000 Coloradans donated a kidney, Colorado’s kidney waiting list would be eliminated.
 

To view the full article on 9News Website, please click here.

Nanny Saves Child’s Life

Posted on 01. Feb, 2017 in In The News, News

American Transplant Foundation’s Executive Director, Anastasia Darwish, is interviewed for this article produced by Yahoo Beauty.

Kiersten Miles and Baby Talia who she saved

Kiersten Miles and Baby Talia, who she saved

 

Yes, there are still incredibly giving people in the world.

 

A few weeks ago, a 22-year-old college student and nanny voluntarily donated part of her liver to the 16-month-old child she was hired to babysit.

 

The caretaker, Kiersten Miles, learned about the child’s health crisis three weeks after she began working for the Rosko family last year. Baby Talia was suffering from a chronic disease that could be fatal without a liver transplant — and Miles jumped at the opportunity to rescue the little girl.

 

Doctors explained the severity of the situation to the young nanny. “I can never donate again, so they had to tell me in the future if I have a child in a similar situation or a different one and they need a liver, even if I’m a 100 percent match, I can’t donate,” she told Fox 29 News Philadelphia.

 

Regardless of the future risk, she was determined to donate a portion of her organ to the toddler. “It’s such a small sacrifice when you compare it to saving a life,” stated Miles. “Some of her doctors said she possibly wouldn’t have made it past 2 years old. All I had to do was be in the hospital for a week and a 5-inch scar. I don’t know, it just seemed like such a small sacrifice to me.”

 

In order to meet the qualifications for being a liver donor, Miles needed to undergo a battery of tests by various specialists.

 

“It’s a multistage evaluation process,” Peter L. Abt, MD, an associate professor of transplant surgery in the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, who was Miles’s surgeon, tells Yahoo Beauty. “We start with the patient’s history and make sure they’re healthy — that they’re not overweight and don’t have any systemic illness. We also do a variety of blood tests to make sure their liver is healthy, and then do some imaging to make sure the anatomy is appropriate to donate.”
 
Anastasia Darwish, executive director of the American Transplant Foundation, tells Yahoo Beauty that donors are typically under the age of 60. And while liver donors do not need to be blood relatives of liver recipients, they “must have a compatible blood type.”
 
Abt further explains that surgery can take anywhere from four to eight hours. “It depends on what portion of the liver you’re donating,” he says. “A donation to a child is a smaller piece of liver, but if you donate to an adult, it’s often a larger piece of liver.”
 

“It’s a multistage evaluation process,” Peter L. Abt, MD, an associate professor of transplant surgery in the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, who was Miles’s surgeon, tells Yahoo Beauty. “We start with the patient’s history and make sure they’re healthy — that they’re not overweight and don’t have any systemic illness. We also do a variety of blood tests to make sure their liver is healthy, and then do some imaging to make sure the anatomy is appropriate to donate.”
 
Anastasia Darwish, executive director of the American Transplant Foundation, tells Yahoo Beauty that donors are typically under the age of 60. And while liver donors do not need to be blood relatives of liver recipients, they “must have a compatible blood type.”
 
Abt further explains that surgery can take anywhere from four to eight hours. “It depends on what portion of the liver you’re donating,” he says. “A donation to a child is a smaller piece of liver, but if you donate to an adult, it’s often a larger piece of liver.”

 

And in most cases, liver donors can resume their regular activities once they have fully recovered from surgery. “The goal is for the donor to return to the health they had prior to donation,” says Abt. “Rarely are there any long-term complications, and the only medication they may need to take for a couple of weeks is some pain medicine — if they need it at all.”
 
Darwish adds that living liver donation is “much riskier” than living kidney donation.
 
“There’s about a 25 percent complication rate for living liver donors versus less than 1 percent for living kidney donors,” she states. “Patients and families should only make a decision about living donor transplantation after being fully informed of the risks and benefits of this procedure. That said, this is a lifesaving procedure and a much-needed option for those patients who are on the liver waiting list.”
 

Fox 29 News Philadelphia has also reported that both Miles and baby Talia “are doing well.”

 

To view the full article on the Yahoo Beauty Website, please click here.

 

 

Saint Francis Kidney Transplant Program Clinical Social Worker Receives National Award

Posted on 01. Sep, 2016 in In The News, News

Katie Peoples, Saint Francis Kidney Transplant Program Clinical Social Worker, was honored at our 2016 Transplant Hero Awards Gala.

Lanie Alford Katie Peoples Anastasia Honorees THA Gala 2016 (1024x683)

Transplant Angel Award Honorees Lanie Alford and Katie Peoples with ATF director Anastasia Darwish (Credit: ATF)

 

June 11, 2016, marked the 10th anniversary of the American Transplant Foundation (ATF), which was celebrated with a gala event at the Ritz-Carlton in Denver, Colorado, honoring Transplant Hero Award recipients. Among those receiving honors was Katie Peoples, licensed clinical social worker (LCSW) with the Saint Francis Kidney Transplant Program, who was awarded the Transplant Angel Award.
 
Peoples, who has held her current position at Saint Francis for 11 years, was nominated for this prestigious award by prospective living donor, Timna Haynes of Hot Springs, Arkansas.
 
“Katie represents everything positive about the transplant community and is the single most sincere and compassionate person I have encountered in my process of becoming a living kidney donor,” Haynes says. “She is inspirational during a time when people are struggling to get through each day; she represents hope to not give up. Her personal investment in her patients is evident in the way she listens and provides reassurance in times of uncertainty and turmoil. She is truly a remarkable human being.”
 
As far as Katie Peoples is concerned, being nominated for this award in the first place was the most meaningful part of the experience. “To have a potential living donor feel strongly enough to take the time to nominate me was quite special,” she says. “To be told how I impacted someone’s life when I was ‘just trying to do my job’ is pretty awesome and reminds me of why I chose to do what I do.”
 
Peoples continues: “I like seeing the transplant recipients through the entire transplant process from the referral to the actual surgery and life with a new transplant. I get to know these patients so well and am able to help them work through a process that improves their quality of life. I also work with potential living donors (people who want to donate a kidney to someone on the transplant list) and support them in the same ways I do recipients. However, the work with donors is different due to the nature of their donation; they are healthy individuals who have a desire to help improve someone’s health by making a huge sacrifice. It’s a physical and emotional process and they need to be aware of both the short-term and long-term impact on their life.”
 
About the American Transplant Foundation
The American Transplant Foundation is the only nonprofit in the country that provides financial assistance to the most vulnerable transplant patients and living donors for lost wages and lifesaving medications. ATF reduces the waiting list by maximizing living organ donation, which is the most effective way to fulfill its mission. Through its Patient Assistance Program and 1+1=LIFE Mentorship Program, ATF supports patients in 47 states.
 
About the Saint Francis Kidney Transplant Program
Since 2005, the Saint Francis Kidney Transplant Program has been welcoming patients from across Oklahoma and neighboring states. Each year, the program manages approximately 40 to 50 kidney transplant procedures. The program is a part of the United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS) kidney paired donation program, which offers living kidney donor recipients additional options for living kidney donations.

 
Originally published August 02, 2016
 

To view the full article on the Saint Francis Website, please click here.

 
 

Transplant Wait Times Longer in Colorado than Surrounding States

Posted on 01. Aug, 2016 in In The News, News

The importance of American Transplant Foundation’s mission to maximize living donation to save lives is outlined in the below article published by CBS Denver.

transplant-wait-time

Transplant wait times in Colorado and surrounding states. (Credit: CBS)
 
Please note this article is based on statistics from 2014.

 
A CBS4 investigation has found people in Colorado are waiting longer for kidneys, the most frequently transplanted organ, than anywhere else in the region.
 

Every day, 13 people in the U.S. die waiting for a kidney transplant, according to the National Kidney Foundation. In Colorado alone, there are 1,832 kidney patients on the waiting list for a life-saving surgery, according to the United Network for Organ Sharing. But, for Coloradans, the wait can be far longer and more excruciating than for transplant hopefuls in neighboring states.
 
Michelle Stewart, 49, of Adams County, was added to the transplant waiting list last April, after her kidney function decreased to 10 percent of normal. “I can feel my body slowing down,” she said, “I can feel my body changing.” For a person with Michelle’s blood type, the average wait time for a kidney transplant in Colorado is about four years. CBS4 found that four-year wait is twice as long as transplant centers in nearby states. In Utah and Oklahoma, the wait is roughly two years. In Nebraska, the wait is only 10 months. “I wish I could give my patients a 10-month wait time,” said Dr. Alex Wiseman, who runs the kidney transplant program at the University of Colorado Hospital. “But it really comes down to supply and demand.”
 
In Colorado, demand outstrips supply for seemingly contradictory reasons. Colorado has an urban population, with a large amount of kidney disease. But Coloradans are also generally healthy, so there are fewer potential donors. In this case, a healthy population means less risk of cardiovascular disease, less risk of stroke, and less risk of brain death. “Less risk of brain death means fewer donors,” Dr. Wiseman said.
 
Michelle decided to travel to Utah to get on their list, which carries a dramatically shorter wait time. “Of course Utah was a great candidate because I need a kidney. Who wants to wait five or six years when I can go there in 21 months?” But there’s a hitch with getting on the list in multiple locations. Patients only have a matter of hours to get to the hospital when an organ becomes available. That’s where Carnegie Mellon University Professor Sridhar Tayur comes in. “I was just taken aback that there was such a huge disparity,” Tayur said.

 

So Tayur founded Organ Jet, a company that provides jet service for patients so they can get to another state quickly. Tayur said he was inspired by Apple CEO Steve Jobs who lived in California but received a liver transplant in Tennessee. “Most of us are not as wealthy as Steve Jobs,” Tayur said. “What happens to the rest of us?” The private jet service costs about $10,000 per trip. According to Tayur, that’s a price tag that people in the upper middle class may be willing and able to pay. “So if you are a software engineer working in Washington, D.C., you are not Steve Jobs. But you could potentially afford to get from D.C. to Pittsburgh.”

 

Software developer Irena Bucci signed up for Organ Jet and was listed at eight different transplant centers across the country. The mother of two was facing a five- or six-year wait for a kidney in Washington, D.C., but ended up getting a kidney after two years in Pittsburgh. “It absolutely saved my life,” said Bucci who went on to develop a website to help other patients find centers with shorter wait times. So far, Tayur says about 25 people have used his jet service. He is now trying to convince insurance companies to cover the cost of an Organ Jet flight. He says the jet will cost a lot less in the long run than a lifetime of dialysis.

 
For Michelle Stewart, a transplant can’t come soon enough. Doctors tell her she will need dialysis within a year. “It scares me that I will have to rely on a machine to clean my blood,” she says. “It is very important and time matters.” But time isn’t the only consideration for Michelle. The relationship between patient and doctor is also important. Michelle has seen the same doctor for 36 years and says she would prefer to stay at home in Colorado for her surgery. “Best-case scenario is that I find a living donor,” she said. There is no wait time for living organ donations. But for now, Michelle waits, with family members unable to donate, “I’m hoping an angel will come forward and is willing to donate to me and matches me, of course.”
 

The American Transplant Foundation provides mentors and services for people going through the organ donation process.
 

Originally published October 27, 2014
 

To view the full article on the Denver CBS Website, please click here.

 

 

Please Give Me Your Kidney: How to Crowdsource for an Organ

Posted on 11. Jul, 2016 in In The News

American Transplant Foundation’s Executive Director, Anastasia Darwish, is interviewed for this article produced by USNews.com

www.usnews.com

When Liza Mason retired from her busy career in the restaurant business at age 60, the Denver resident didn’t move to a beach town, take up painting or commit to more travel. Instead, she channeled all of her time, attention and energy toward one goal: finding a kidney. It wasn’t any simpler than a full-time job.

 

“You have to be diligent and every day be doing something about it,” says Mason, who was diagnosed with polycystic kidney disease, a condition that worsens over time, in 2003. If she didn’t find the right person to donate a kidney, she’d eventually need to be treated with dialysis, a burdensome, temporary and less effective solution that artificially performs the kidneys’ job of removing waste and unwanted water from the blood.

 

So, over the course of about a year, Mason distributed business cards advertising her need for a kidney to salons and gyms; she hired someone to create a website and another to spread the word via social media; and she networked with people who had been in her shoes. “Everything I saw or read that someone did [to find a kidney], I did it,” Mason recalls.

 

Kidneys are in high demand: More than 120,000 U.S. residents are currently on the waiting list for an organ transplant; close to 100,000 of them are waiting for kidneys, according to the United Network for Organ Sharing, a nonprofit that manages the nation’s organ transplant system. But unlike hearts, lungs and other organs that must come from deceased people, those in need of kidneys can – and ideally, should – skip the list and turn to living family, friends and even strangers instead, since a kidney from a living donor tends to last longer, says Dr. Matthew Cooper, director of Kidney and Pancreas Transplantation at the Medstar Georgetown Transplant Institute in the District of Columbia.

 

But finding that person isn’t always easy. Not only must the donor fulfill certain medical, practical and psychological requirements, but the recipient must get comfortable sharing a personal story and requesting a serious favor. “The idea of asking someone for an organ from their body is a very challenging thing to wrap one’s mind around,” says Cooper, who’s also on the board of the National Kidney Foundation and a surgery professor at Georgetown University Medical School.

 

But doing it pays off, Mason found. After about a year of campaigning, she reconnected with a former server at one of her restaurants. The young woman insisted on donating her kidney, and the pair turned out to be a match. “I was blessed,” says Mason, who underwent the surgery about a year ago. Despite the fact that her condition is incurable, she is in relatively good health today.

 

While there’s no single right or wrong approach to recruiting a kidney donor – except paying him or her for the organ, which is illegal – keeping in mind several guidelines can ease the process and boost your chance of success. Here’s what donation experts and transplant recipients suggest:

 

1. Do your homework.

 

It’s key to know what exactly you’re asking of someone before you ask. “Talk to your doctor, do your research and understand the benefits and risks of living donation,” advises Anastasia Darwish, executive director of the American Transplant Foundation. You’ll learn that the process typically involves an extensive medical and psychological evaluation, a several-hour surgery that keeps patients in the hospital for about four to six days and a few weeks of recovery. Today’s minimally invasive techniques make the procedure and its recovery much easier on the donor than years past, Cooper says. “Knowing that we do the operation this way makes it easier [for recipients] to think about the ask,” he says.

 

For Joe Vohs, a sales director in the San Francisco Bay area, donating his kidney to a stranger in 2011 was so manageable he almost feels guilty when people praise his altruism. Though most donors take longer to bounce back, he returned to work after two weeks and ran a half-marathon after three months. “I would do it again if I had three,” he says.

 

2. Know who makes a good donor.

 

You can’t put just anyone’s kidney in your body. You want someone who’s healthy; people with or at risk for diabetes or blood pressure problems, for example, won’t qualify, Cooper says. You also ideally want someone with a similar body size as you, Mason adds. Then there’s the practical considerations: Potential donors need to have the flexibility at work and with their families to make time for the procedure and its recovery, adds Angela Balcita, a 41-year-old writer in Baltimore who’s received three kidneys – which each have a shelf life of about 10 to 12 years – since age 18 to treat her kidney disease. “Be understanding that people have their own reasons for not doing it,” she says.

 

But don’t think you have to do all the vetting yourself. While some people in need of a kidney worry that donation will compromise their loved ones’ health and safety, keep in mind that anyone with a less-than-excellent prognosis won’t be cleared for the procedure, Cooper says. “Donor safety comes first,” he says. In fact, only about 10 to 20 percent of people who go to a clinic to donate a kidney actually end up doing so. “We always say donors … are the healthiest people to step in the OR,” he says. “They don’t need the operation, and we’ve looked at them head to toe.”

 

3. Recognize that people want to help.

 

Mason admits it “just about killed” her to post her request for a kidney on Facebook. For Balcita, who wrote about one of her transplants in the book “Moonface,” accepting her brother’s kidney in the pre-minimally invasive surgery days invoked a twinge of guilt in part because he had to feel worse to make her feel better.

 

But speaking up is worth it. “If you know that this is going to change your life and there’s people out there that can help you, there’s no harm in asking,” Balcita says. Rather than requesting the commitment to donate flat-out, you may find it easier to ask people if they’ll consider donating or if they’ll just get tested to see if they’re a match, she adds. Even if they’re not a match, they can still help by, for example, joining – or, like Vohs, starting – a kidney donor chain, or a series of kidney swaps between compatible donors and recipients who don’t necessarily know one another.

 

“When you hesitate about asking your loved ones to become a living donor,” Darwish says, “ask yourself, ‘If I don’t give them a chance to save my life, will they feel guilty when it will be too late to help?'” Vohs, for one, feels grateful to have been a part of the process. “How many opportunities do you have to save somebody’s life?” he asks. “Not many. It’s nice to take advantage of it.”

 

4. Seek support.

 

The best way to find an organ donor depends on everything from how comfortable you are sharing your story publicly to the breadth of your social and professional networks to your culture, Darwish says. That’s why the American Transplant Foundation facilitates a mentorship program that pairs people in need of organs with similar people who’ve successfully completed the process. “Sometimes mentorship and emotional support … can make all the difference while you figure out the best scenario,” Darwish says. In one situation, for example, a mentor organized a brunch for the organ seeker’s family during which she presented information about donation in an educational – rather than emotional – way. It worked. “The person went from being completely hopeless, no prospect of donors whatsoever, to getting herself a donor,” Darwish recalls.

 

Loved ones who can’t or don’t want to donate can also help out by being a sort of spokesperson for the patient, Cooper says. One initiative called the Donor Champion Program, for instance, teaches people about kidney disease, organ donation and how best to communicate the need for a transplant. “If it was your loved one, you’d probably be pretty comfortable or confident – especially if you’ve seen your loved one suffering on dialysis – to bring up the conversation,” he says.

 

5. Develop your message.

From T-shirts and bumper stickers to Facebook ads and comedy shows, there’s no shortage of ways people have managed to find organ donors. “Some people are very private; some people are like, ‘Let’s put up a billboard!'” Darwish says. And while recipients have to consider issues like whether they want their Internet reputation to be conflated with medical information, the key for any platform is being able to tell your story in a way that resonates. For example, ask yourself: How would receiving an organ change your life? How would it affect your family? What’s the alternative? “Make your story and outcome real and compelling,” Darwish says. “Many potential donors might read your story and either step up or recommend you to another that is a candidate if they are not qualified.” And don’t forget to keep your medical team in the loop, she adds. “If you put a billboard about the need for a living donor and don’t say anything to your transplant center, they might be unprepared to respond to a huge volume of calls,” she says.

 

6. Don’t give up.

 

Searching for an organ donor day in and day out can get exhausting, Mason found. “You have to build your knowledge about things; you have to look up stuff and be motivated,” Mason says. “It is easy to give up after you’ve had five or 10 people say, ‘Oh, I’ll do it,’ but then they don’t.” But she powered through because it’s the type of person she is. “I get things done,” she says. “I almost looked at it as a project.”

 

That persistent attitude is the right one, Darwish says. “Every day will have its ups and perhaps downs; try to stay positive, yet remain realistic,” she says. “The right person, donor and solution are out there.”

 

Written by Anna Medaris Miller

 

To view the full article on the US News website, please click here.

 

 

Transplant Hero Awards Gala 2016

Posted on 15. Jun, 2016 in In The News, Past Events, Recent Events

In honor of 10 years of service, and to recognize heroes who have gone above and beyond to advance the transplant community and to save lives through living organ donation, the American Transplant Foundation hosted an incredible celebration of life on June 11th.
 
Honorees, community leaders, transplant recipients, living donors, and medical professionals gathered at the Ritz-Carlton to enjoy a memorable evening. Oz Pearlman, mentalist and finalist on America’s Got Talent, was the evening’s emcee and dazzled guests with his mind reading skills. Attendees were also treated to an acoustic performance by The Fray members Joe King and Isaac Slade, including the song “How to Save a Life,” for which the award for altruistic living donors is named.

Transplant Hero Awards Honorees

Transplant Hero Awards Honorees

After Party guests enjoyed complimentary signature cocktails and an array of tempting desserts while they danced the night away to the funk-soul-blues band Tracksuit Wedding.

Tracksuit Wedding

Tracksuit Wedding

Overall, the Transplant Hero Awards raised more than a half a million dollars to fund the American Transplant Foundation’s lifesaving programs. Thank you to our Event Chairs, Pat Hamill and Karly and Brad Farber, and all our Event Co-chairs and Planning Committee members for their efforts to make this evening such a success. Thank you to our Presenting Sponsor, Larry Mizel and MDC/Richmond American Homes Foundation, and all our amazing sponsors, for their ongoing support. And lastly, thank you to Steve Farber. Without you, none of this would be possible.

Event Chair Pat Hamill

Event Chair Pat Hamill


Event Chairs Karly and Brad Farber, American Transplant Foundation Founder Steve Farber with wife, Cindy, Julie and Brent Farber

Event Chairs Karly and Brad Farber, American Transplant Foundation Founder Steve Farber with wife, Cindy, Julie and Brent Farber


 
Together, we save lives.
 
Check out photos from the Transplant Hero Awards Gala!
Decor and The Fray SoundcheckCocktail ReceptionProgram After Party
 
Local Articles – Transplant Hero Awards Gala 2016
Denver Post
Blacktie Colorado
 
 

American Transplant Foundation Gala raises $522,000

Posted on 14. Jun, 2016 in In The News

An 11-year-old Highlands Ranch girl who was born with bilary atresia and spent the first seven months of her life in and out of Children’s Hospital Colorado before receiving a liver transplant is the recipient of the American Transplant Foundation’s Volunteer of the Decade award.
 

Joe King and Isaac Slade are smitten by the charms of Vienna Danna, recipient of the Volunteer of the Decade Award.  The Transplant Hero Awards, benefiting the American Transplant Foundation, at The Ritz-Carlton, Denver, in Denver, Colorado, on Saturday, June 11, 2016. Photo Steve Peterson

Joe King and Isaac Slade are smitten by the charms of Vienna Danna, recipient of the Volunteer of the Decade Award. The Transplant Hero Awards, benefiting the American Transplant Foundation, at The Ritz-Carlton, Denver, in Denver, Colorado, on Saturday, June 11, 2016.
Photo Steve Peterson


 

Vienna Danna, the only infant to receive a liver transplant in Colorado in 2005, accepted the award from Joe King and Isaac Slade of The Fray during the ATF’s Transplant Hero Awards Gala on June 11 at the Ritz-Carlton Denver. The two had just finished an acoustic performance that included the band’s popular “How To Save A Life.”

 

Angel Awards went to Lanie Alford, transplant coordinator at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas; and Katie Peoples, transplant coordinator at St. Francis Hospital in Tulsa, Okla. Living donors Jose Amezola Beltran, a paralegal from Superior; attorney David Rochlin of Denver; and Eldonna Edwards, a masseuse and donor advocate from San Luis Obispo, Calif., received How To Save A Life awards.

 

Oakwood Homes founder and CEO Patrick Hamill, Karly Farber and Brad Farber chaired the event. Brad’s father, attorney Steve Farber, founded the ATF with Heidi Heltzel and Dr. Larry Chan after his life-saving kidney transplant in 2004. The kidney had been donated by Steve’s oldest son, Gregg.

 

The $522,000 that was raised, said executive director Anastasia Darwish, will be used to assist transplant patients and living donors by reimbursing them for lost wages during their surgeries and providing access to lifesaving medications. The money also will help fund ATF efforts to reduce the ever-increasing number of people waiting for a transplant by encouraging others to become living donors.

 

In addition to The Fray, guests also enjoyed the talents of mentalist Oz Pearlman and an after-party with music by Tracksuit Wedding, who arrived at the Ritz-Carlton by way of Red Rocks Amphitheatre, where they had opened for Big Head Todd and the Monsters.

 

To view the article on the Denver Post website, click here.

American Transplant Foundation Hero Awards

Posted on 13. Jun, 2016 in In The News

Blacktie colorado small size vienna and the fray
It isn’t every day that The Fray plays some songs and gives some personal messages in the middle of a fundraiser.
 
But then again, it’s not every day that someone decides to donate a kidney to someone they don’t even know.
 
To that end, about 600 well-heeled guests joined their friend Steve Farber, founder of the American Transplant Foundation, at the Ritz-Carlton Denver Saturday night to celebrate 10 years of success and look to the future to pave the way for more donations, both physical and financial.
 
The American Transplant Foundation is the only nonprofit in the country that provides financial assistance to the most vulnerable transplant patients and living donors for lost wages and lifesaving medications. American Transplant Foundation reduces the waiting list by maximizing living organ donation, which is the most effective way to fulfill their mission.
 
The foundation was started by Farber, who was faced with a life-threatening crossroads in 2004 and ultimately received a kidney from his son Gregg. Farber was on hand to receive the Governor’s designation from Lt Governor Donna Lynne proclaiming the day “American Transplant Foundation Day” and welcome this year’s ATF heroes:
 
Transplant Angel Award: Lanie Alford–UTSW, Transplant Coordinator, Dallas, TX and Katie Peoples–St Francis Hospital, Transplant Social Worker, Tulsa, OK;
 
Volunteer of the Decade: Vienna Danna, Age 11, who received her award from Joe King and Isaac Slade of the Fray;
 
How to Save a Life Award: Jose Amezola Beltran, Superior, CO, Eldonna Edwards, San Luis Obispo, CA and David Rochlin, Denver CO;
 
Also on hand were Miguel Ramirez, who saved his wife’s life by donating his kidney, and his daughter Maria, who eloquently and tearfully told their story to the audience.
 
ATF has had some major accomplishments, including these milestones:
 
There are 47 states in which American Transplant Foundation supports living donors, transplant patients, and their families.
 
$207.3 million in economic impact has been achieved, thanks to the Foundation’s work since the Patient Assistance Program was founded in 2011. With each patient helped, Medicare saves $462,671 over the course of 10 years.
 
480 people were taken off the waiting list as a result of the Foundation’s work through the Patient Assistance Program and 1+1=LIFE Mentorship Program since 2011. That is 480 lives saved.
 
For more information, log on to www.americantransplantfoundation.org.
 
Please click here to be directed to the full article and view Blacktie Colorado’s event photos.
 
Photos and article by Pam Cress, Blacktie Colorado

Denver attorney Steve Farber celebrates 10 years and 480 lives saved by his foundation

Posted on 13. Jun, 2016 in In The News

It’s been 13 years since Denver attorney Steve Farber got the news that he would need a kidney transplant, but he recalls it like it was yesterday.
 
“I went to the doctor. The doctor gave me a physical. He called me up and said, ‘I don’t like what I see. Your kidneys are not functioning well. And we should talk about your future, or lack of future,’” Farber said.
 
Steve Farber DBJ
He didn’t know it that day, but his future included saving 480 lives — so far. After his own kidney transplant from his son Gregg, Farber started the American Transplant Foundation, which works to find living donors for people who need organ transplants.
 
Over the past decade, ATF has become the only nonprofit in the country that provides assistance to transplant patients and living donors by reimbursing them for lost wages, providing education, mentorship and access to lifesaving medication, said Anastasia Darwish, the foundation’s executive director.
 
Saturday, Farber and the foundation will celebrate the foundation’s 10-year anniversary with its annual event, “Transplant Hero Awards.”
 
Farber recalls how the idea for the foundation came to him: When Farber, founding partner of Denver-based law firm Brownstein Hyatt Farber & Schreck, got the news about his failing kidneys he went to several doctors. He was told he should consider getting on the transplant list.
 
“What does that mean? What list?” he said.
 
Today there are 121,342 people in the U.S. on an organ donor list, and some people wait years. Ninety-five percent of those on the list are waiting for a kidney or liver organs.
 
“I took my three sons on a trip and broke the news that I was going to have to have a transplant. I’m going to try to get on the list,” he told them.
 
He got on the list. He waited.
 
Dozens of people – friends from across the country – called to say they would give him one of their kidneys. Meanwhile, his son Gregg was tested and found out he was a perfect match.
It was a grueling decision for him to accept his oldest son’s kidney.
 
After the successful transplant, Farber went to work on launching the foundation. He said that when people offered him their kidney, it showed him the goodness in people and he thought there had to be a way to connect those waiting for a transplant with living donors.
 
“I wanted to save lives,” he said.
 
Along the way Farber co-authored the book, “On the List” with Harlan Abrahams, a book about his goal of eliminating the shortage of transplant organs. He pushed for a change in the law that makes it easier for living donors to make the decision to donate an organ.
 
In 10 years, 480 people have been taken off the waiting list and saved by living donors. He had never contemplated those numbers when he launched the foundation.
 
“I thought if we save five lives a year, or two lives a year, we really did something,” he said.
 
Now, he gets about five calls a week, people calling with their stories.
 
“I need a transplant and somebody told me you were the guy to call,” he said.
 
Monica Mendoza Reporter Denver Business Journal
 
Article published by Denver Business Journal, click here to view.

Team Transplant is key part of Subaru Elephant Rock!

Posted on 25. May, 2016 in Connections: A Blog about Life!, In The News

For the last seven years, the American Transplant Foundation and its team of enthusiastic cyclists have plied the courses of the Subaru Elephant Rock Cycling Festival around Castle Rock to raise money in support of their efforts to save lives by reducing the ever-growing list of people awaiting a life-saving transplant. Team Transplant, which includes transplant recipients, living donors and friends, families and supporters of the foundation’s work among its more than 90 riders, has raised nearly $500,000 for the foundation over those seven years. That amount is more than 90 percent of the organization’s fundraising goals.

 
“Team Transplant and the foundation are among our most enthusiastic riders every year,” Harris said. “They bring positive energy, a growing team of riders of all ages, awareness of an important cause, and an additional opportunity for us to give back to our community. We’re always thrilled to have them join us in Castle Rock.”

 

The Subaru Elephant Rock Cycle Festival will offer five course lengths June 5.

The Subaru Elephant Rock Cycle Festival will offer five course lengths June 5.


 

This year, the foundation is celebrating its 10th anniversary and once again Team Transplant will be a key part of the Subaru Elephant Rock Cycling Festival.

 
“This non-traditional, but incredibly effective way of fundraising is vital to supporting the American Transplant Foundation’s lifesaving programs, including our patient grants for living organ donors and transplant recipients,” said Erica Gundry, the foundation’s manager of programs and outreach. “Our riders give patients in Colorado and beyond the hope they need.”

 

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