Time to Meet the Kidney Donor Athlete Board of Directors!

This is a big moment for KDA! We have an official Board of Directors!!

We had more than 50 people express interest and eventually narrowed the pool down to 7 people that make up the inaugural Kidney Donor Athletes Board of Directors. I am sincerely grateful for all the people that applied, voiced their hopes for KDA, and offered to help in any way they could. We have an amazing community of enthusiastic, big-hearted doers and it was evident in the amazing people who applied.

And now… drumroll please…. it is time to meet the Board!

Tracey Hulick:

I donated my kidney to a stranger in May of 2017 in Madison, Wisconsin, starting a national donor chain where four people received kidneys. I had run marathons and ultramarathons prior to my donation and wanted proof that I could continue to race long distances with one kidney. My lack of living examples of endurance athlete kidney donors inspired me to start Kidney Donor Athletes back in August of 2018! I have raced in two ultras since donation (a 50 miler and a 100k) and happily landed on the podium each time, with my remaining kidney well intact. I am beyond excited to have this amazing line-up of incredible people, and passionate kidney donation advocates to help me grow this organization!

me

 

Shawna Sampson:

I am a proud Montana native, love my dogs Homer and George, enjoy running and fitness, and am always daydreaming of adventures to come. My one kidney journey started June 26, 2013, when I donated to my cousin Sammi at the Mayo Clinic. I’m a social worker and have nearly 20 years’ experience working in non-profits, including Board development. I’m excited to bring that experience to KDA and help raise awareness about kidney donation and this inspiring community!

Shawna

Katie Wheeler:

I donated a kidney to my mother on September 25, 2018, in Kansas City, MO. As I’m currently living in Denver, I’ve been able to attend many events with other kidney donors and get to know other people in this community. Being connected to people who understand what I’ve gone through is immensely helpful. As someone who did not know other living kidney donors prior to my donation, I am thrilled to be a part of an organization that connects with both donors and potential donors as well as demonstrates that you can save a life through kidney donation and still be the athlete you were before.

katie

 

Steve Wilson:

I am a 53-year-old Financial Coach from Katonah, NY.  My journey to becoming a non-directed kidney donor started with a bike ride in June 2019 and came full circle on February 6, 2020, when I donated my kidney to a 53-year-old woman in Seattle, WA.  Some would say I donated my kidney to a stranger, but I prefer to think of it as recycling my kidney to a lifelong friend I haven’t yet met.  While I do hope to meet her in person, I know that if we don’t, the friendship and bond we share will be no less enduring.

I am excited and honored to be appointed to the Board of Kidney Donor Athletes.  My involvement with KDA will allow me to combine my love of Ironman Triathlons with my passion for raising awareness about living organ donation—a life-saving process that many individuals do not realize is even possible.  I have been invited to compete in the 2020 Hawaiian Ironman World Championships in Kona, Hawaii, where I will proudly represent Kidney Donor Athletes worldwide. I am grateful to Team Ironman Foundation for the opportunity to advocate for living organ donation at this international event.

Steve

 

Sarah Hawkins:

My name is Sarah Hawkins. I currently live in San Luis Obispo, CA – otherwise known as the Happiest City in America! I became a kidney donor athlete on February 6, 2019, when I donated my left kidney to Dr. Terry Gillian, the father of a friend from elementary school who lost his kidney function to an adrenal tumor. I don’t have any more spare kidneys to share, but I still want to share something of myself and being on the Board of Directors for KDA allows me to share my story and my gifts to facilitate future kidney donations from the athlete community. / “Whoever saves a life saves the world” – Israeli Proverb

Sarah H

Karen Berenson:

I am a life-long Wisconsinite who spent many years playing softball in small towns, and volleyball in even smaller gymnasiums. Seven years ago I ran my first marathon in memory of my brother-in-law and I haven’t taken a break from running since crossing that finish line. I’ve now completed a dozen marathons, an ultramarathon, and opened up my own running and nutrition coaching practice in Milwaukee’s eclectic Third Ward. I reside in downtown Milwaukee with my husband Paul and two Italian Greyhounds, Lucci and Bana, who have perfect running form! On November 29, 2019, I was blessed with the opportunity to donate my right kidney to my big sister, Nancy who had fought kidney disease, diabetes, and liver disease for the better part of 35 years. Not a single one of my running or professional accomplishments could hold a candle to the feeling of sharing life with my sister. Several weeks after surgery I came across the KDA web site while searching for guidance about returning to running. Suddenly, I was meeting a whole world of people who had experiences just like mine… who had answers to questions just like mine…and who could share personal experiences and not just anecdotal evidence. Beyond that, I felt like I had a support team that was going to help me get back to a level of fitness that would once again serve me. I am passionate about making KDA a high-profile, well-known organization with both living donor coordinators and donors themselves. There is truly nothing I won’t do to help other athletes who help save lives like my big sister Nancy’s.

Karen

 

Bobby McLaughlin:

January 2, 2019, the day my kidney made its move to help at that time, a total stranger. It’s wild to think Devon’s new kidney has been alive almost twice as long as he has….but they’re both happily enjoying life together 🙂 Living in the Seattle area provides endless outdoor activities near and dear to my heart. But the opportunity to help others is the predominant feature of what will be the second half of my life. Kidney Donor Athletes provides the perfect opportunity to combine two of my great loves in life, and I’m thrilled with this opportunity to serve on the board of directors as we help grow this most amazing community we all love so dearly.

Bobby

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