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Driven by life’s
everyday moments

Nicoletti Kidney Transplant Center

Interested in becoming a Living Donor?

Living donor transplants usually work better and last almost twice as long as deceased donor transplants. At Jefferson Health’s Nicoletti Kidney Transplant Center, we revolutionize the live donor evaluation process in order to increase the number of living donors and improve the patient experience. We understand the weight of your decision and work to provide the comfort, support and education resources needed for a successful donation.

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Life Changing Stories

William, avid fisher

Kidney and Pancreas Transplant Recipient

I was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes 23 years ago. At first, I managed my diabetes with medication, but I fell and broke my hip, transferred to insulin, and eventually developed renal disease. I lived with stage 4 kidney disease for about 10 years. It never got any better, never got any worse. Then all of the sudden in May of 2017, it just bottomed out.

I was on dialysis for 15 months. It disrupts your whole lifestyle — almost like your life is on hold. If you’re planning a vacation, you have to make sure there’s a facility nearby where you can have dialysis. You’re very limited in what you can do.

Then, I got a call from Jefferson saying they had a possible donor. It was funny because I didn’t have much time to think about it. They called on a Tuesday and told me about the possible donor. By Wednesday, they called back and said to come in. I had a simultaneous kidney and pancreas transplant at Jefferson in October 2018. My surgeon, Dr. Adam Frank, was excellent. I had teams of doctors and nurses, and they were all great.

Jefferson gave me a second chance at life. I no longer have a need for dialysis or insulin — it’s almost like I’m back to normal.

I’m looking forward to the summer with my grandchildren, getting on the boat and doing some fishing. When I was on dialysis, I really couldn’t get into the salt water or lift anything over 25 pounds. Now, I’m ready to lift my grandchildren and make sure this summer’s big fish has no chance of getting away. 

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Krystal, graceful dancer

Kidney Transplant Recipient

I found out that I had Alport syndrome when I was 18. It’s a genetic disease that damages the blood vessels in your kidneys, leading to kidney disease and eventually failure. When they explained what it was, I was shocked and devastated.

I had to be trained to do peritoneal dialysis at home, which I did every night for six years. Then eventually I had to switch over to hemodialysis, which I did for six months until I got the call from Jefferson that there was a kidney for me.

With all of the years of dialysis and the medications I had to take, there were times when I had doubts, but I always managed to remain positive. I always said I will never give up. I will do this for myself and for my family.

When the time came for my transplant surgery, my surgeon, Dr. Warren Maley, came to get me himself. I was so excited — he was talking to me the whole way to surgery, telling me about himself, how long he’s been a transplant surgeon, and it turns out that we share the same birthday! He’s amazing and so is the rest of my transplant care team.

After my surgery, I am feeling better than ever and have so much more energy. I’m 27 now, and planning to pursue a career as a medical assistant and perhaps one day become a phlebotomist.

Since healing, I’ve been enjoying social dancing — like salsa. And I’m looking forward to traveling, even if it’s just to the beach for a weekend getaway. I couldn’t really do these things before without worrying about dialysis. Now, I am able to enjoy life to the fullest. 

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Judi, back on track

Kidney and Liver Transplant Recipient

There is a section on the forms you fill out at the doctor’s office that requests your family’s medical history. My mother died when I was in high school, and I lost my father 10 years later. I did not know that either or both of them had polycystic kidney disease, a genetic condition that causes cysts to grow on the kidneys and liver, eventually damaging them. After I suffered with a fever for over a month, a CT scan revealed that I had the disease.

Upon being diagnosed, I saw doctors every two to six months to assess the function and health of my kidney and liver. I remember being aware of my condition, but my quality of life did not change at first. I enjoyed my active lifestyle, balancing time with my family in Glenside, a workout schedule and a full-time job at Abington Hospital as a medical student and geriatric fellowship coordinator.

However, life slowed down dramatically as my liver continued to grow with cysts and crowd out my other organs. At the same time, my kidneys were failing and I was told that I would need to be evaluated for a transplant and start dialysis.

When the call came, I remember the shock of learning that there was a kidney and liver for me, and that I needed to be at the hospital in an hour for my transplant surgery.

I felt like a VIP when I arrived at Jefferson. My surgery went well, and I am so grateful for my life, the life of the donor who gave me my second chance, my family and friends, Jefferson’s transplant team, and the gift of growing physically stronger day by day.

Months later, I was back on track and training for my first 5K. I finished that race and I haven’t stop training since! 

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Charles, all about family

Kidney Transplant Recipient

Family is everything to me — now more than ever. When I was diagnosed with failing kidney function, I didn’t want to burden any of my five adult children with having to give me one of their healthy kidneys. But they had other ideas and staged a “kidney intervention” to change my mind. I’m so thankful to all of them — especially my daughter, Nicole, who became my donor.

I’m also very thankful to the Jefferson Transplant Institute. The staff was so personable and took the time to get to know us. We felt we were not only in the hands of experts but also part of another nurturing family.

My transplant surgeon put me at ease and had a great bedside manner. He and everyone else at Jefferson took very good care of us.

Our surgeries went very well and Nicole and I are both doing great now.

We’re deeply grateful that I’ll be around to get to know her son — my grandson — and watch him grow. That wouldn’t have been possible without my family, and my extended family at Jefferson.

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Nicole, there for dad

Kidney Transplant Donor

I’m 31 years old. I lost my mother to cancer when I was 11. From then on, my dad, Charles, raised me, with help from my older brother and sister. I have two brothers and sisters overall, and we are all really close. My sisters and I are “daddy’s girls.”

During a regular follow-up exam after recovering from prostate cancer, one of my dad’s doctors detected kidney disease. By the time it reached stage 4, he was added to the kidney transplant waiting list. But because time was pressing, his doctor explained the benefits of live donation and my siblings and I decided to get tested to see if any of us were suitable donors.

Dad didn’t want any of us to give him one of our kidneys but we had other plans and staged a “kidney intervention” to insist that he let one of us be his donor. I told Dad that I could not bear to lose him and neither could his grandson — my then seven-year-old son, Christian. We found out that I was a match and dad finally agreed to let me donate.

All of the doctors, administrators and advocates were so courteous and conveniently available under one roof at the Nicoletti Kidney Transplant Center at Jefferson. As a healthcare administrator, I was very impressed with how easy things were and how well the staff took care of us.

Three days after surgery, we were both out of the hospital and recovering at home, together. Thanks to our incredible transplant team, Christian is getting to know his grandfather better and that means the world to me. Because for us, it’s all about family. 

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