Jessica Conklin: living kidney donor

Karen Handelman Donation Stories

Sacramento, CA — Jessica Conklin spent many years watching her mother suffer from chronic kidney disease. When she was 20, she tried donating her kidney but found she was not a match. “This devastating news made me feel hopeless as my mom grew weaker,” she recalled. By chance, a nurse mentioned the paired exchange program to Jessica after hearing of her inability to donate directly. She referred Jessica to the UC Davis Paired Exchange program which would …

Amy Nash: kidney recipient

Karen Handelman Donation Stories

Amy and her husband Jerry at the Unyts Donate Life Walk with dear family friend Annie Keller and Amy’s mom, Diane Weimer. Amy and her family participated in the 2013 Donate Life Rose Parade Float. Clarence, New York — Amy Nash was diagnosed with end-stage renal disease during her senior year in college. In the mid-1980s, living donation outside of immediate family members was very rarely done. Her family was tested, but while they all matched one …

Valen Keefer: winning my war against PKD

Amy D. Waterman, PhD Donation Stories

Since age five, Valen Keefer has battled and triumphed over seizures, scoliosis surgery, pancreatitis and polycystic kidney disease (PKD). After undergoing dialysis and more than 70 blood transfusions, Valen “won the war” when Sally Robertson gave her a kidney on August 13, 2002. Valen reflects on her transplant journey. As one health issue mounted on top of the next, I did not have time to process the reality of my life as an 18- and …

Mary Wu: transplantation…a lifetime journey

Amy D. Waterman, PhD Donation Stories

Mary Wu was diagnosed with chronic kidney failure as a toddler. Transplants at ages 3 and 12 saved her life. Mary reflects on her transplant journey. I received two kidney transplants, one in 1987 and the other in 1995, both from deceased donors. No one in my family was a match to donate a kidney to me. Prior to both of these transplants and during these particular times, there was not a real push for …

Melissa Benosouda: choosing to live

Amy D. Waterman, PhD Donation Stories

At age 24, Melissa Bensouda was diagnosed with chronic kidney disease after giving birth to her second daughter. After her third child, a son, was born, she lost all kidney function. On April 16, 2012, Melissa’s wait of nearly ten years for a transplant finally came to an end. Melissa reflects on her transplant journey. When I was initially diagnosed with kidney disease, I was already in ESRD (end-stage renal disease) and fortunate enough to …

Phillip Palmer: my decision to donate

Amy D. Waterman, PhD Donation Stories

Phillip Palmer, morning anchor for ABC7 in Los Angeles, was inspired to donate a kidney after reading a Sports Illustrated article about then-NBA star and transplant recipient Alonzo Mourning. He resolved then to one day save someone’s life as a living kidney donor. Years later, that person turned out to be longtime friend Dale Davis. Phillip reflects on his living donation journey. Oddly enough, I learned most everything I know about living donation as I …

Welcome from the founder

Amy D. Waterman, PhD From the Founder

by Amy Waterman, PhD The first thing I say after I tell people that I work in the field of transplantation is that it is a true honor and a privilege. I feel this in my bones. I feel this so strongly because I get to see the best of humanity and healthcare, every day. I know so many generous donors who offer a part of their body to help someone else. Some of these …