We were thrilled to bring our groundbreaking Patient Ambassador Program to you in a safe, virtual format. The third edition of this series was hosted in partnership with the COVID-19 Transplant Coalition.
This webinar covered the following topics:
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.
Matthew Cooper is a Professor of Surgery at Georgetown School of Medicine and the Director of Kidney and Pancreas Transplantation at the Medstar Georgetown Transplant Institute (MGTI).
He is a current councilor for the American Society of Transplant Surgeons. He is a current board member for the National Kidney Registry, the American Foundation for Donation and Transplantation, the International Pancreas and Islet Cell Transplant Association, Donate Life America, and the local OPO – Washington Regional Transplant Community. Dr. Cooper has served as Chair of the American Transplant Congress.
Dr. Cooper was recently chosen as President-elect of UNOS.
After receiving his medical degree from the Georgetown University School of Medicine in 1994, Dr. Cooper completed his general surgery training at the Medical College of Wisconsin followed by a fellowship in multi-organ abdominal transplantation in 2002 at the Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, MD. He joined the transplant faculty at the Johns Hopkins Hospital upon completion of his training and was appointed Surgical Director of Kidney Transplantation and Clinical Research in 2003. Dr. Cooper joined the University of Maryland in 2005 directing the kidney transplant and clinical research program until 2012 following which he assumed his current role in Washington, DC.
Dr. Cooper trained with the pioneers of the laparoscopic donor nephrectomy procedure and seeks new opportunities for living donation through innovation and by removing the disincentives for those considering donation while promoting the safety and long-term care of live organ donors. His clinical interests included kidney and pancreas transplantation; particularly the use of marginal organs and has recently chaired both an NKF sponsored Task Force to decrease kidney allograft discards and a UNOS-sponsored System Performance Improvement Committee which have led to several exciting projects to potentially bring more patients an opportunity for transplantation. Dr. Cooper is involved in several ongoing clinical research projects primarily with an interest in immunosuppression minimization and amelioration of delayed graft function in kidney allografts following ischemic reperfusion injury. He has authored over 200 peer-reviewed manuscripts, 250 abstracts, and 6 book chapters. He is regularly invited to speak on a variety of transplant-related topics both nationally and internationally.
Dr. Cooper is involved in transplantation activities both locally in the District and on a national basis. He is a member of the National and DC Board of Directors for the NKF and a member of the NKF’s National Transplant Task Force and Public Policy Committee. He has served as the chairman of the United Network of Organ Sharing (UNOS) Living Donor Committee and recently acted as the Councillor for UNOS’ Region 2.
Dr. Miklos Z Molnar is a Hungarian-American Transplant Nephrologist and an Associate Professor of Medicine at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center, Memphis, TN. He is also affiliated with James D. Eason Transplant Institute in Methodist University Hospital, also in Memphis. Dr. Molnar serves as Director of AST Transplant Nephrology Program at James D. Eason Transplant Institute in Methodist University Hospital.
Recently, Dr. Molnar authored Outcomes for Transplant Recipients and COVID-19 research study
Dr. Molnar obtained his M.D. and Ph.D. from Semmelweis University, Budapest, Hungary. He received additional medical training in Hungary and board-certified in internal medicine, nephrology, and transplant medicine in Europe. Dr. Molnar immigrated to the US in 2010, spent two years as a post-doc fellow at Harbor UCLA, and obtained his US residency and transplant nephrology fellowship at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center, Memphis, TN, and nephrology fellowship at the University of Toronto, Toronto, Canada. Dr. Molnar is board certified in internal medicine and nephrology.
Dr. Molnar is an author of more than 250 articles in the field of nephrology and transplant medicine. He serves as an Editorial board member in several Journals, and current Associate Editor in Transplant International. He also served as PI in a recent R21 grant.
Donerik’s connection to donation began in 2006 when he donated a kidney to his father. Fast forward a few years later- through a successful transplant and recovery for this father- Donerik’s health, specifically his heart began to fail. In 2015, he was listed and received a heart, that he desperately needed, at the Cleveland Clinic.
Before Donerik got sick, he was a competitive BMX rider. As his health worsened he had to stop. However, since his transplant Donerik is competing again throughout the country and doing great. Overall he raced in 40 local races and three national events and out of those three national events he has three wins. He even was even able to show his skills and be a part of the Opening Ceremonies of the 2016 Transplant Games of America in Cleveland, Ohio! He proudly displays the Donate Life symbol on his BMX uniform. He is active, competitive and doing what he loves to do.
In addition to being active with Donate Life Ohio and speaking at various events throughout the state, Donerik is also active with the American Heart Association and was recognized as a Heart Hero in 2013. He and his wife Angie have raised thousands of dollars for heart research and have been the face for heart health. I think Donerik’s biggest accomplishment is his daughter, Taylor, and being able to see her grow into the beautiful, talented and smart young woman she was designed to be. He is so incredibly proud of her and extremely blessed to be here to see her continue to flourish.