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 Living Donor Group
Left to right: Donor surgeon Nick G. Cowan, MD, Urology; kidney recipient Kelli Campbell; kidney donor Daniel (Dan) Campbell; living donor advocate Jessica Spiers, LICSW; and Virginia Mason Transplant Center Medical Director Andrew Weiss, MD, Nephrology.

SEATTLE, Aug. 5, 2019 – On Tuesday, Aug. 6, Virginia Mason will perform its 1,000th living donor kidney transplant. This is significant since less than 15 percent of the 314 transplant centers in the United States have accomplished this. The Virginia Mason Transplant Center, which opened in 1972, is the first kidney transplant program in Washington state to reach this milestone.

The achievement is also worth recognizing and celebrating since it is testament to medical and surgical advances in organ transplantation, which have led to successful outcomes for kidney transplant recipients. The success of living kidney donation has created a life-saving option for waitlisted kidney transplant recipients who often wait years for a deceased donor kidney. Virginia Mason’s focus on safety and optimizing the patient experience has contributed to the great success of its living donor program.

“To spare patients in need of kidneys long and uncertain wait time on the transplant list, it’s more important than ever for relatives, loved ones, friends and even individuals who wish to remain anonymous to serve as living donors,” said Andrew Weiss, MD, nephrologist and medical director, Virginia Mason Transplant Center. “In fact, nearly 7,000 transplants nationwide were made possible in 2018 by living donors.”

The 1,000th living donor kidney transplant at Virginia Mason will involve a married couple, Daniel (Dan) and Kelli Campbell, from Pullman, Wash., who met while students at Eastern Washington University in Cheney, Wash. Dan will be donating a kidney to Kellie, who has known for much of her life that she might need the life-giving procedure due to an autoimmune disorder that caused her kidney disease. Kelli received confirmation just nine months ago that she needed a new kidney.

Although Dan knew he wanted to try and donate one of his kidneys to Kelli about 20 years ago when he learned about her condition, the father of two and University of Idaho administrator found out about a month ago that he was a match.

“There are thousands of people waiting for a kidney transplant where live donation is their best option for a long, healthy life. Live donors go on to live long, active lives,” said Dan. “If more people explored the option of donation, we could make each others’ lives and our communities stronger.”

The kidney disease Kelli has causes fatigue, dietary changes and limits on some common over-the-counter medications. It has also made some life experiences, like pregnancy, dangerous.

“We are grateful that Virginia Mason is doing such great work, but there are many other people waiting,” said Kelli, who works at the Whitman County Courthouse in Colfax, Wash. “However, the fact that the health system is about to do its 1,000th living donor kidney transplant speaks to the quality of the program, their outcomes and how great the need is.”

When asked what she is looking forward to most after recovering from her kidney transplant, Kelli said, “I’m looking forward to seeing our children become adults. And in the meantime, I want to return to an active lifestyle, ride bikes with my family and eventually travel.”

For more information about living donor organ transplantation, visit VirginiaMason.org/living-donation and UNOS.org/transplant/living-donation.

 

About Virginia Mason Health System

Virginia Mason, founded in 1920, is a nonprofit regional health care system based in Seattle that serves the Pacific Northwest. In the Puget Sound region, the system includes 336-bed Virginia Mason Hospital; a primary and specialty care group practice of more than 500 physicians; outpatient medical facilities and services in Seattle, Bainbridge Island, Bellevue, Edmonds, Federal Way, Kirkland, Issaquah and Lynnwood; Bailey-Boushay House, the first skilled-nursing and outpatient chronic care management program in the United States designed specifically to meet the needs of people with HIV/AIDS; Benaroya Research Institute, which is internationally recognized for autoimmune disease research; Virginia Mason Foundation; and Virginia Mason Institute, which trains health care professionals and others around the world in the Virginia Mason Production System, an innovative management method for improving quality and safety. For more information, visit VirginiaMason.org and VirginiaMason.org/100-years-100-stories.

Virginia Mason Health System also includes Virginia Mason Memorial, a 226-bed hospital serving Yakima Valley in central Washington since 1950. Virginia Mason Memorial includes primary care practices and specialty care services, including high-quality cardiac care; cancer care through North Star Lodge; breast health at `Ohana Mammography Center; acute hospice and respite care at Cottage in the Meadow; pain management at Water’s Edge; an advanced NICU unit that offers specialty care for at-risk infants; advanced services for children with special health care needs at Children’s Village; and The Memorial Foundation. For more information, visit YakimaMemorial.org.

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