By Morgan Reid
As the National Kidney Foundation’s new and first Director of Transplant Policy & Strategy, I am eager to address the many opportunities to improve organ donation and transplantation. The urgency is clear: the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) estimates that 37 million people in the United States have Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD), and there are over 90,000 individuals currently on the transplant waitlist.
Joining the NKF team is one of my most exciting endeavors because of how firmly I stand behind the organization’s vision to provide Transplants for All. I will work to level the playing field in this new role so that each person diagnosed with CKD has a fair shot at kidney transplant access. Regardless of a person’s race, where they live, or socioeconomic status, each person deserves a chance to live a healthy life. I will also strive to make sure that kidney transplant programs commit to keeping patients at the center of their care.
A Personal Mission
Before joining NKF, my passion for saving lives through the selfless gift of donation and transplantation began when I received my own kidney transplant on January 9, 2007. I was diagnosed with CKD, IgA nephropathy when I was 18. My kidneys would fail over the next few years, leading me to a nearly two-year journey on peritoneal dialysis before receiving my transplant from a dear college friend,. If it weren’t for her courage and selflessness, I am not sure I would be here today.
Dedicating my life to raising awareness about the importance of organ donation and helping as many people as possible receive a life-saving transplant has been profoundly fulfilling. Immediately after my transplant, I volunteered at my local Organ Procurement Organization (OPO) before being hired to work there. I went on to work for another OPO and then a well-known transplant center, where I continued doing what I believe to be my life’s purpose: helping people get off the transplant waiting list.
It is a privilege to carry out NKF’s mission to enhance lives through action, education, and accelerating change. I look forward to updating you on our progress and am eager to hear what steps you think we as an organization can take to ensure everyone who needs a transplant can get one.