Transplant Leadership Council Meets at 34 Degrees

The American Transplant Foundation’s young professionals group, the Transplant Leadership Council held their last meeting of the year this week at the new headquarters of the incredibly successful Denver cracker company 34 Degrees. We loved having the chance to talk to CEO Craig Lieberman about his journey and the important values of community and teamwork he keeps at the forefront of his company culture.

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The Transplant Leadership Council helps in decision-making for the recipients of our Patient Financial Assistance Programs and reflected over the success of the 133 patients we have been able to provide assistance for this year to date!

 

As the year comes to an end we are currently accepting applications to be involved with this group. You don’t need to be a Denver resident to be involved, we welcome members from all across the country. If you are interested, please apply here!

 

For those already involved, we encourage you to nominate yourself or another member for our 2016 Co-Chair position, helping to provide leadership and involvement to the Transplant Leadership Council! Nominations should be sent to Erica@americantransplantfoundation.org.

 

American Transplant Foundation Community Outreach

Unite to Fight PKD.

On September 20th, 2015 we United to Fight PKD at Washington Park, Denver, CO!

 

The American Transplant Foundation was proud to sponsor and host an informational booth for the community at this event. Our goal was to spread awareness for living donation and help answer any questions regarding transplant. It was great to connect with such a fantastic organization again this year- the PKD Foundation.

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Patient Grant Helps Altruistic Living Donor

Facebook connects living donor with sick Sebring woman

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There amid all the causes, cat videos and Candy Crush found on a Facebook feed, a Pennsylvania woman heard a cry for help.

 

Five months later, 29-year-old Michelle Zipp of New Paris boarded a plane for Tampa and donated a kidney to a Sebring woman she had never heard of before the social media post — a friend of her boyfriend’s cousin.

 

The recipient, Shirley Di Simone, had seen her kidney function decline to about 5 percent by the time of the operation. Within two days after the Aug. 27 procedure, Di Simone was at 100 percent.

 

Michelle said the decision to become a living donor was an easy one for her. Michelle received a Patient Assistance Grant from the American Transplant Foundation to help her with her lost wages during travel and recovery from donor surgery.

 

Click here to see the full article.

Bridge to Bridge: A Milestone in a Seven Year Journey

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Gavin & Zander Maitland

About the Author: Zander Maitland is the youngest member on our Transplant Leadership Council with one of the biggest passions for service and giving back to help transplant patients have the same second chance at life as his father. Here they are pictured at the Denver Rock ‘n’ Roll half marathon in October 2014.

 

It has been over seven years since my dad received his life-saving lung transplant, and six since he has returned to what most would consider a normal adult life: eating food rather than nutrients from a tube, working full time, and most importantly to him and the rest of us, staying active.

 

Only a day after the operation and unable to speak, he pulled my mom aside and with a pencil in hand, he inscribed his first word after months of waiting, hours of preparation and surgery, and continuously falling in and out of consciousness onto a pad of paper: walk.

 

He put on his running shoes, and soon after the doctor had approved, marched out of the ICU and began his walking regimen. Gradually he began to recover and gain back his strength, and soon his strolls down the halls of Duke University hospital had become short jogs, and after that, long runs. Six months later, he took his first steps into the pool and began swimming.

 

Unlike probably most people, my dad has always believed the best way to stay healthy is to stay active whether through swimming, running, biking, or other activities that engage the body and mind. In the years since his transplant, he has completed dozens of 5ks, 10ks, and even a few half marathons as well as many open water swim events, most of which my sister and I have completed with him.

 

However, in the late spring of 2013, the three of us found ourselves vying for something more challenging, something truly impressive to test the limits of what can be accomplished thanks to organ transplant. Talking to my swim team coach one morning, he mentioned a 1.5 mile swimming race from Alcatraz island across the bay to the mainland. For those who are not familiar with swimming, that distance is equivalent to about 100 lengths in a standard pool, not to mention the freezing cold water, powerful currents, and of course, sharks rumored to be found in the bay.

 

Golden gate bridge shrouded in clouds

The Maitland’s photo of the iconic Golden Gate Bridge shrouded in clouds

We registered for the race the next day, and on an early morning in May, we found ourselves in wetsuits on a small boat, jumping feet first into the dark murky waters of the San Francisco bay, only a few feet from the edge of the Alcatraz prison. The cloudy sky was vast and ominous as we began our trek across the bay, and even with our wetsuits, the salty water was incredibly cold, forcing us to constantly stay in motion to keep hypothermia at bay. Between breaths we would glance up at the city, the skyscrapers and white stone buildings suddenly illuminated by the rising sun through the veil of fog that almost always covers the area. We finished the swim an hour later on a sandy beach near Pier 39, and even managed to get coffee and chocolate at the Ghiradelli factory before 9 o’clock.

 

 

Now almost two years after that morning in June, we returned to San Francisco for an even bigger adventure: a 6.2 mile (10 kilometer) swim race from the Golden Gate Bridge to the Oakland Bay Bridge. Although I personally experienced some trepidation at first, having not swum for a year and being too busy with high school to train, we all agreed to do the swim together.

 

Me and my kayaker during the last

Zander and his kayaker – last stretch!

Soon I found myself with the same endless dark sky and murky abyss of water below me standing in a very similar small boat on an early August morning, ready to leap into the icy water with nothing but my wetsuit, goggles, a silicone swim cap, and a bright green light to help the supporting kayakers keep track of us for the 5:30 am, pitch black start. The excited faces of the other swimmers glowed in the lights of the Golden Gate Bridge above us and as I looked far across the dark water at the ominous shape of Alcatraz island and even farther across the water to the our destination, I was reminded of how incredibly thankful I was for the gift of transplant. I stood in silent reflection contemplating the past six years of my life and the amazing journey my father had taken to arrive at this moment and also the six miles of arduous swimming ahead of us. In that moment, I felt truly grateful for the lungs my dad had received and amazed at how much he had accomplished thanks to his transplant; feats and adventures over the last few years that would have been impossible otherwise.

 

My sister and mom standing with the Bay bridge behind them.

Zander’s sister and mother, Riley and Julie, standing by the Bay bridge

Having completed the swim and thinking back on it now, I am always reminded of that moment in the boat. I am reminded of the importance and power of donation and the tremendous impact it can have on the lives of recipients like my dad. I am reminded that when you decide to donate to another person, whether they are a friend, family member, or stranger, you are not only giving them the gift of a precious organ, you are literally giving them a life.

Share A Spare Type O Kidney for Kelsey!

It’s easy to save a life. So easy, anyone with blood type O can do it!

25-year-old Kelsey Crider dreams of becoming a social worker in order to assist others through the transplant process she knows all to well.

In the past eight years, Kelsey has had 12 surgeries, including 3 kidney transplants. Though her most recent kidney has lasted over five years, she is now seeking kidney number 4 in order to save her life.

 

Be a Living Donor and Save Kelsey’s Life!

Did you know:

  • Living Donors go on to live normal, healthy, and active lifestyles after donation.
  • Post-donation, the hospital stay is typically 2-3 days.
  • Women can still give birth after a kidney donation.
  • The testing and surgery are BOTH covered by the recipient’s insurance.

Visit Kelsey’s website for more information – Kidney4KP

To inquire as a donor for Kelsey, please contact:
Neshiyqah Nash, Living Donor Coordinator
University of Colorado Hospital
(720)-848-0855

 

If you have blood type O, you can save a life.

Share a Spare Type O Kidney for Kelsey!

It’s Easy To Save a Life.

So easy, anyone with a blood type O can do it!

Kelsey Crider is an ambitious 25-year-old who dreams of one day becoming a social worker to assist others through the transplant process she has come to know well.

 

In the past 8 years, Kelsey has had 12 surgeries and now spends her nights hooked to a dialysis machine. Kelsey needs someone to step up to be her living donor so she can live a happy, healthy life.

 

Be a Living Donor and Save Kelsey’s Life!

The very first step for those interested in being Kelsey’s living kidney donor is to complete her potential living donor interest form. It’s very simple and only takes 5 minutes.  

 

Please click here to complete the form.  

If YOU have blood type O, YOU can save a life.

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A Special Evening with Train & The Fray

We had a special evening with Train & The Fray at Fiddler’s Green Amphitheater on Saturday, July 18th, 2015!

 

To all of you who were able to attend and support our Special Evening with Train & The Fray on Saturday night – Thank You. We hope you and your guests enjoyed the VIP San Francisco-themed cocktail reception, engaging meet & greets with both Train and The Fray, and amazing performances!

Train Fray Collage

Together, we raised $40,500 with $33,500 net proceeds to help fund our TLC Patient Assistance Program! As we are funding record number of applications this year (101 so far), this support is hugely helpful.

 

As this patient support program is growing exponentially, event attendance is so very much appreciated! TLC is the heart of the American Transplant Foundation, and we could not do what we do without each and every one of you.

 

Together, we learned How to Save a Life!

 

2015 Team Transplant Rides Elephant Rocks

Elephant Rock

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Team Transplant had a great turn out for the Elephant Rock Race this year! This inspiring group brought together 18 transplant recipients, 9 living donors, 6 donor family members, 38 medical professionals, and many more supporters totaling a team of 106 participants to ride at  Elephant Rock and celebrate life this year.

 

The Subaru Elephant Rock Cycling Festival consists of both road and mountain bike courses of various distances- from 8 to 100 miles- for riders of all ages and abilities. Participants worked hard and successfully fundraised over $76,000 for the American Transplant Foundation!

 

Team Transplant rocked the bright blue jerseys and could be spotted spreading the news of transplant all around: from the courses, to the yoga mats, the information booth, getting massages and enjoying smoothies; you could feel the energy of community, passion, and advocacy radiating throughout the event. Thanks for coming out for a fun, eventful day!

 

Please check out the full gallery of photos from the event here and here.

Team Transplant Captain’s Fundraising Party

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Team Transplant captain Sarah and her team raised $650 at their fundraising party in Columbus, Ohio.

Congratulations Sarah and good job!

Team Transplant Registration Event

Registration event invite

We had a fantastic time meeting new members and introducing them to the Team Transplant captains as well as other teammates. This was a free event that involved both snacks and beer at the BikeSource on University Hills on Thursday April 23rd.

 The event was in preparation for the big ride coming up on June 7th at the Subaru Elephant Rock 2015. Everyone is invited- we’ll even have Elephant Rock registration available at the event. So bring your friends that aren’t yet Team members!

We look forward to meeting you there!