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Meet Kristen Martin, Pre-kidney Transplant Coordinator

What’s your name, where are you in NC and how long have you been in the state?

My name is Kristen Martin and I have lived in Wake Forest, NC, my entire life (37 years).

Where did you get your medical degree from? What first inspired you to work in transplant medicine?

North Carolina A&T State University (BSN), Queens University (MSN).

When I worked as a nurse in the neurosurgical intensive care unit I took care of 17 year old who succumbed to injuries from car surfing.  While I was caring for him his mother expressed interest to me in donating his organs and asked if I would contact CDS.  After contacting CDS she asked that I care for him until he was taken to OR to procure his organs. I cared for him for the 2 days that it took to allocate all his organs and the next week I spoke at his funeral per his mother’s request.

What is the best part about being a pre-kidney transplant coordinator?

Being able to witness a patient go from being referred for transplant to having them calling you from their hospital room after they receive their transplant and them thanking you for guiding them through the process.

Do you remember a particular patient? Can you share a little about them that may inspire someone to register as an organ, eye and tissue donor?

After teaching transplant orientation class, I had a patient call and leave me a voicemail a few days later. On the voicemail he told me that before coming to kidney transplant orientation class he had basically given up on ever coming off dialysis.  But when he came to class and saw that his coordinator looked like him and listened to me teach about transplant, he became inspired. He said that he appreciated me being open, honest and transparent with him with regards to his situation. He appreciated the fact that I told him I couldn’t make him any promises but that I would be here to help and guide him through the process and that was all he needed to begin his journey to pursing a transplant.

What would you like people considering organ, eye and tissue donation to know?

One donor alone can save or improve the lives of eight or more people.

Is there a message or statement you’d like to make sure that we include or highlight in our feature on your journey?

“Be the change you wish to see in the world” Gandhi

Don’t take your organs to heaven. Heaven knows we need them here.