The Living Bank Newsletter Winter 2017

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LETTER FROM OUR CEO It’s been a year to remember for our great city of Houston! We saw our community rise strong from the devastation of Hurricane Harvey and shared in the exhilarating joy of our Astros winning the World Series! As we reflect on the folks we’ve connected with; the challenges we’ve weathered; and the headway we’ve made over the past year we are grateful to be a part of this enduring institution. The Living Bank is coming up on its 50th anniversary! I am struck by the mark our founding mothers made on the world of organ donation and transplantation, establishing The Living Bank in 1968 as the first organ donor registry in the nation. Living organ donation is our core focus now. Why? Because people are dying before an organ becomes available for transplant; many who could have been saved through a live organ transplant. Then why aren’t there more living donor transplants? Because people don’t know; they aren’t informed. The Living Bank’s charge is to eradicate this fatal lack of knowledge. This year, much has been accomplished. We kicked off our Be Someone’s Hero campaign to connect with our surrounding community; from that we produced a compelling short film starring our amazing living donors and their families. We launched a dynamic new website to inspire and invoke change through the power of education and took our social media to the next level, reaching and engaging new audiences. For the professionals serving in live donor transplant programs throughout the U.S., we implemented a more robust professional education platform to facilitate our continuing education offerings. It is a valuable tool that provides continuing education credit at no cost to nurses, social workers and other health professionals that view and complete our Live and OnDemand webinars. We could not do this without your support. As you plan your year-end giving, I ask you to consider a gift to The Living Bank. Your gift makes an invaluable difference to those we touch. Their loved one is given a second chance at life now, through living organ donation, instead of facing the increased risk of dying on the transplant waiting list because a deceased organ donor match couldn’t be found in time.

Please think about a gift to transform lives and bring hope to recipients, donors and their families. With thanksgiving,



ne August night in 2016, I was surfing the web and checking out Facebook when I noticed that Matt Aklan, a good friend to one of my older sisters, had started a group. Matt needed a kidney and was looking for people to consider being screened to serve as a living kidney donor. I sent him a simple text; “I will get screened - how do we proceed?”

Mark Biscone, PhD

Matt Aklan

And so, the journey began. Giving up a kidney to Matt was an easy decision and at the same time it wasn’t. What if my father needed a kidney, or my children? What about the small, yet measurable risk? Donating a kidney does not confer physical benefit to the donor— well, except for being about a kidney lighter in the end! Much research and discussion ensued. Ultimately, I made the decision to give my kidney to Matt, to help him today, rather than hold it for a direct family need that might not even arise in the future.

Patients who receive a living donor kidney transplant live 12 to 20 years longer than those on dialysis! Oh, and I was a match! So I said a simple three letter word. YES.

My father instilled upon his children the great joy in serving those in need. And so, I volunteer as much as possible with the Houston Food Bank, the American Red Cross, the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo, and The Living Bank; I try to donate blood or platelets at every eligible interval. Giving of myself to help others indeed brings joy to my life.

The morning of I was wheeled into surgery to awake later in a fog and in pain. What a success— less than three days later Matt was already responding; with creatinine levels retreating and years of joint pain, gone.

Matt has a beaming 8-year-old son, Evan. Evan’s father needed a kidney and was on the verge of needing dialysis. Although dialysis is a life-saving treatment, it performs only about 10 percent of the work of a functioning kidney and it is not meant to be a long-term treatment option.

I felt little fear or trepidation through the myriad of testing and the voices that questioned “are you sure?” and “are you nervous?”

Fast forward six months. Matt is running multiple miles, bicycling tens of miles, and has signed up to do a half Ironman Triathlon this year!

Yes, there was pain. And for me, the recovery was longer than expected. But I would do it all again in a heartbeat.

Mark donated his kidney to Matt on Friday, April 14, 2017 at Northwestern Memorial Hospital in Chicago, IL. Mark serves as the Living Bank’s Board Chair and is the Director of Research at CHI St. Luke’s Health-Baylor St. Luke’s Medical Center in Houston’s Texas Medical Center.

On Friday, October 27th The Living Bank honored Michael Skelly, living kidney donor, founder and president of Clean Line Energy, and committed community leader. Be Someone’s HERO was inspired by Michael and all living organ donors. Their courage and willing sacrifice is the true essence of a hero.

INDEPENDENT LIVING DONOR ADVOCATE NETWORK™(ILDAN™) ILDAN™ presents live webinars each month. The broadcasts are then made available OnDemand. Continuing education credits are offered at no cost. Dates announced via email. Sign up for ILDAN™ alerts by emailing

2017 living bank



THANK YOU TO OUR MAY 2017 – DECEMBER 2017 PRESENTERS Tammy Wright, RN, BSN, CCTC Lead Living Donor and Exchange Coordinator Sharp Kidney and Pancreas Transplant – San Diego, CA


James R. Rodrigue, PhD Vice Chair, Dept. of Surgery Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center – Boston, MA Professor of Surgery and Psychiatry Harvard Medical School – Boston, MA Teri Browne, PHD, MSW, NSW-C Associate Professor University of South Carolina – Columbia, SC


Debbie Morgan, MSW, LCSW Vice President Transplant Division RWJ Barnabas Health – Livingston, NJ Valerie McBride, RN, BSN Kidney Transplant Coordinator UCSF Medical Center – San Francisco, CA Marian O’Rourke, RN, BSN, CCTC Director for Quality Compliance Outcomes Management Miami Transplant Institute


Dorry Segev, MD, PhD Transplant Surgeon and Vice Chair for Research, Dept. of Surgery Johns Hopkins University Macey L. Henderson, PhD, J.D. Assistant Professor in the Dept. of Surgery Johns Hopkins School of Medicine


JANUARY 16, 2017 Suzanne McGuire, BSN, RN, CCTC Living Donor Kidney Transplant Coordinator Supervisor, Living Donor Team UCLA Kidney and Pancreas Transplant Programs – Las Angeles, CA

1 Anne Whitlock, Kathryn Kase and Michael Skelly, honoree and living kidney donor 2 Living kidney donors 3 Sandra Galvan, kidney recipient, San Juana Cannon, living kidney donor and Helen Matthis, Living Donor Coordinator, Memorial Hermann 4 Salli Youtt, living kidney donor and Michael Youtt, Kathleen Wood, living kidney donor and Pat Wood 5 Rudyne Walker, kidney recipient, Lawrence Walker and Dana Edson, living kidney donor 6 Teresa Radosti, Database Specialist, Kelly Perdue, President and CEO, Cathleen Thomas, Program Coordinator

FEBRUARY 20, 2017 Giuliano Testa, MD, FACS Surgical Chief of Abdominal Transplant Surgical Director, Living Donor Liver Transplantation Annette C. and Harold C. Simmons Transplant Institute Baylor University Medical Center – Dallas, TX

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P.O. Box 6725 Houston, Texas 77265



Mark J. Biscone, PhD, FACHE, Chairman, Living Kidney Donor Josh Tabin, Vice Chairman, Consultant Shawn Guarisco, Treasurer, Senior Tax Manager, Deloitte Kathleen Wood, Secretary, Living Kidney Donor

Kelly Perdue, CPA, President and CEO Cathleen Thomas, Program Coordinator Teresa Radosti, Development and Database Specialist

BOARD OF DIRECTORS Michael C. Braun, MD, FASN, Texas Children’s Hospital J. Steve Bynon, MD, FACS, Memorial Hermann Hospital Judith Craven, MD, MPH, United Way of the Texas Gulf Coast (Retired) Salil V. Deshpande, MD, MBA, United Healthcare of Texas A. Osama Gaber, MD, FACS, Houston Methodist David M. Gregory, Partner, Locke Lord LLP

ADVISORY BOARD Shahzad Bashir, Morae Legal Carolyne B. Oliver, Texas Southern University (Retired)

PROGRAMS OF THE LIVING BANK The Power of LIFE: Living Organ Donor Awareness Independent Living Donor Advocacy Services Independent Living Donor Advocate Network™

INDEPENDENT LIVING DONOR ADVOCATES Shelley Spector, LCSW, Director of Social Work Services Sharon Coplon, LMSW Lisa Getz, LCSW Jean Kessler, LCSW