Fighting the fight (for Chris)

Amy D. Waterman, PhD Transplant News

When I was at the TED Conference this year in Vancouver, I had a lot of big picture conversations about how best to solve the kidney donor shortage. People suggested that we try to help the 100,000 people now waiting for a kidney in the U.S. get one sooner through: (1) impassioned storytelling about the cause, (2) 3-D printing kidneys, (3) growing or preserving more organs efficiently, (4) technology breakthroughs, and even (5) paying people to …

Proposed law would protect living donors

Amy D. Waterman, PhD Transplant News

Until 2014, a living organ donor could be refused health insurance on the grounds that the donation constituted a pre-existing condition. While the Affordable Care Act effectively eliminated that discrimination, some donors still have trouble getting insurance. It could be that smaller companies don’t know the law, or others continue to charge donors higher premiums. Donors can also have trouble getting life, disability, and long term care insurance. A proposed law, the Living Donor Protection …

The dream drawings

UCLA Former Users From the Founder, Transplant News

At the TED 2016 Dream Conference, they had two artists stationed outside the Main Stage, sitting at tilted drawing desks, waiting. I didn’t notice them at first. Hundreds of people milled all around them, busy ordering coffee from the barista and checking their messages before the next session. But, I am a fan of artists and I love tilted drawing desks. A nice TED volunteer handed me a pink blanket and a journal and asked …

Living in the light

UCLA Former Users From the Founder, Transplant News

I have just spent five days at the TED Dream 2016 Conference being moved to tears by the passion and efforts of people who honor the beauty of all humankind and who are fighting, hard, to make the world a better place. I am a UCLA Associate Professor and run the Transplant Research and Education Center to help more people learn about and consider donating kidneys to one another. This is my first big TED …

An introvert at TED

UCLA Former Users From the Founder, Transplant News

I am a TED virgin, the definition of a person who has never attended the Big TED conference before. I am also a TED introvert. Dr. Brian Little, a personality psychologist, gave a TED talk Tuesday explaining that introverts step out of their boxes only for important projects. Know what an introvert’s project is and you know their motivation. Having the opportunity for collaborative brainstorming with smart people about the organ donor shortage is definitely …

Dreaming big is not for the faint of heart

UCLA Former Users From the Founder, Transplant News

The TED Dream 2016 conference is not for the faint of heart. I know a lot about my field of kidney transplantation and patient education. Every day in my UCLA research lab, I work with transplant professionals, conduct research, write journal articles, and design and test whether new educational programs work. Before TED started, I flew in early to give a Grand Rounds talk to the entire transplant community in Vancouver. However, I came to …

Love large, dream larger

UCLA Former Users From the Founder, Transplant News

It’s Valentine’s Day, a day to be grateful for the love in our lives and the impact we all can have on each other. This week, I have the privilege of being at the 2016 TED Dream conference in Vancouver, BC with a lot of other people who, like me, have big dreams. I work at UCLA in kidney transplantation. I am a transplant educator – you can read more at www.exploretransplant.org, and follow me …

On your mark…get set…TED!

Karen Handelman From the Founder

Helping solve the kidney shortage was something that, Amy Waterman, Ph.D., an Associate Professor and national transplant educator, dreamed of doing when she was growing up in Knoxville, TN. But to do that, she needed to surround herself from as many smart and diverse people as she could. When she moved to Los Angeles in 2013 to work at UCLA, a friend told her that her favorite week of the year was when she attended …

Craig Hostert: kidney recipient

Karen Handelman Donation Stories

To have my son give life back to our family has made us even more committed. The Hosterts are an active family, going on ski trips, camping trips, attending sporting events, spending time with friends and just watching movies together. No one would guess that Craig used to rely on dialysis to maintain his life, or that two of the family members are living kidney donors. In 1986, Craig Hostert was diagnosed with an autoimmune …

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 …