For most patients with end-stage renal disease, a kidney transplant from a living donor offers the best possible treatment for failing kidneys. Last month, BWH’s Kidney Transplant Program honored both donors and recipients at its inaugural Living Donor Appreciation Night, which focused on the life-changing impact of a living donation.
“Patients with a living kidney donor can be transplanted healthier and more quickly, and the transplanted organ remains viable for almost twice as long when compared to a kidney from a deceased donor,” said Stefan Tullius, MD, PhD, FACS, chief of the Division of Transplant Surgery and surgical and program director of Kidney and Pancreas Transplantation. “That is why it is so important that we recognize the wonderful gift that our living donors have provided.”
During the keynote address, Massachusetts state Rep. Edward Coppinger described how receiving a kidney from his sister, Eileen Coppinger, at BWH last year changed his life. The siblings celebrated the one-year anniversary of the transplant by running a five-mile road race together. They also ran a 10K race together in August to raise money for the New England Organ Bank.
“After the transplant, my energy level and my life changed for the better,” Coppinger said.
Following the formal program, attendees – including some from as far as Mississippi and Florida – reunited with their BWH caregivers and swapped stories with fellow patients.
“My gift has now given my dad almost eight years of a good quality of life,” said Joseph Chamberlain, Jr., who donated a kidney to his father in 2009. “I am very honored to be a part of this wonderful, memorable and emotional event.”
The Brigham has a rich history of living kidney donation. The late Joseph E. Murray, MD, completed the world’s first successful human organ transplant here in 1954.
BWH is building on this legacy of excellence and innovation with the founding of the new Brigham and Women’s Living Donor Center, opening in 2017. The center, part of the Kidney Transplant Program, will provide enhanced services to living kidney donors, including more education about transplants and assistance in navigating the donation process. It will also help patients in need of a kidney transplant to identify living donors.