CKF’s Patient Ambassador Webinar Series is continuing through 2021 to ensure we’re reaching our audiences (viewers and supporters, like you!) in a safe and efficient way.
The second webinar we are hosting this year is The ABC’s of Organ Donation! This webinar, presented with SODA, will be geared toward teens and adults to educate on the importance of organ donation and answer pressing questions on the subject. Topics covered in this webinar will be:
Dr. Alex Kula is currently a pediatric nephrology fellow at Seattle Children’s Hospital/University of Washington. He is also a liver transplant recipient. After being diagnosed with primary sclerosing cholangitis (PSC), Dr. Kula received a lifesaving split-liver transplant from his uncle at 19 years old. In many ways, his transplant was more than just a receipt of a healthy liver, but it also inspired him to pursue a career in medicine. After receiving his undergraduate degree from the University of Arizona, Dr. Kula attended medical school at Yale University, where the surgeon who performed his liver transplant was coincidentally appointed head of transplant during his second year.
After completing medical school at Yale, Dr. Kula moved to Seattle to complete his pediatric residency at Seattle Children’s, where he is currently in the second year of his pediatric nephrology fellowship. His research focuses on helping young patients with severe illness, including organ failure and transplants, maintain their kidney health as they progress from children to adults. Dr. Kula also met his wife at Seattle Children’s, where she works as a pediatric cardiology/transplant nurse. Read Dr. Kula’s Donor Story, which he wrote as part of the Chris Klug Foundation’s Donor Story series.
Andi began at Donate Life Indiana in 2018 as the co-director and education specialist, responsible for educating youth in Indiana schools and working with community partners to promote a youth initiative to raise awareness for organ donation and transplantation. This role allowed her to develop an engaging curriculum that educates and enlightens teens on the benefits of organ donation and gives them the capability to make a more educated decision when asked to register as an organ donor at the DMV.
Before joining Donate Life Indiana and Indiana Donor Network, Andi worked as a middle school teacher and coach for almost ten years, serving in two Indiana public school districts. She then transitioned to a sales role, building and managing customer relationships. Andi earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in Child Development and Family Studies from Berea College and completed her Master’s degree in Education from Indiana University.
Robyn Caldwell is an undergraduate studying Human Services at Hudson Valley Community College. She is currently working with the nonprofit, Student Organ Donation Advocates (SODA), as their Programming Intern. Robyn is also the daughter of a deceased organ donor and recently shared her story as part of the Chris Klug Foundation’s Donor Stories series. She currently resides in Wynantskill, NY, with her father and two sisters. This spring, she plans on relocating to Boston, MA, to continue her education.
Robyn’s aspirations include spreading organ donation awareness to a wider audience as she hopes to work with New England Donor Services (NEDS) as a Family Services Coordinator in the future. She continues to raise this awareness while honoring her mother and her family’s journey through the organ donation process.
Chris Klug is a three-time Olympic snowboarder and liver transplant recipient from Aspen, Colorado. In 1991, he was diagnosed with primary sclerosing cholangitis (PSC), a rare, degenerative liver disease, for which the only cure is a liver transplant. Eighteen months after receiving his lifesaving transplant, Chris won a bronze medal in the 2002 Winter Olympic Games for snowboard racing, making him the first and only organ transplant recipient to compete in the Olympics, winter or summer.
In 2003, Chris founded the Chris Klug Foundation (CKF), a national nonprofit organization based in Aspen, to help save lives through organ donor registration and to encourage healthy, active lifestyles post-transplant. He also wrote about his transplant experience and subsequent journey to the Olympics in his book, “To the Edge and Back: My Story from Organ Transplant Survivor to Olympic Snowboarder.” In addition to working full time in real estate, he now serves as chairman of CKF’s volunteer board and frequently travels with the foundation to share his story with others throughout the United States.