On August 11, 2022, the Thermo Fisher Transplant Diagnostics business hosted a live and virtual screening of the series. The screening was followed by a panel discussion that was moderated by Chris McCloskey, Director, Business Development who was joined by Dr. Christopher Lawrence, transplant nephrologist and Sr. Director, Medical Affairs of Thermo Fisher Transplant Diagnostics business to host the event. Our guests featured Valen, who is also a patient advocacy consultant for the Transplant Diagnostics business; as well as transplant patients Phil Shin, and Kadin Hoven and Drew Bierut, the series producer.
During the roundtable discussion, Valen shared her experience as a dual-transplant recipient and discussed how she hopes the docuseries will help educate and uplift patients and caregivers. Our speakers were also asked to share how they became their own patient advocates as well as what improvements they would like to see in transplant patient care.
Multi-organ Transplant Recipient
Thermo Fisher Scientific
August 11, 2022 at 3:00 PM
On August 25, Donate Life Hollywood hosted their annual gala to honor Hollywood’s most authentic organ donation and transplantation storylines. This year, the Letters of Hope series received the celebrated “Inspire Award” and our team was there to congratulate Valen and catch up with our friends Mona Castro and Kim Payne. Also awarded for their positive portrayals of transplantation and accurate storytelling were television productions such as Chicago Med, The Resident, Grey’s Anatomy, and 9-1-1. Congratulations to all award recipients!
Diagnosed with polycystic kidney disease (PKD) at the age of 10, Valen has endured a lifetime of physical and emotional trauma resulting from chronic illness. Her experience navigating these challenges was the impetus for the Letters of Hope docuseries.
Created by Valen and sponsored by Thermo Fisher Scientific, Letters of Hope is a video series that aims to educate other transplant recipients and society at large about the realities of life before, during, and after transplantation.
The series explores both the medical and personal challenges of the transplant journey: from receiving a difficult diagnosis to managing immunosuppression, as well as family planning, mental health, and the emotional journey of waiting for a compatible donor.
Valen Keefer | Kidney & Liver Transplant Recipient
This year, Valen celebrates the 20th anniversary of her kidney transplant. This docuseries is her gift to the transplant community, a celebration of her life-saving surgery as well as the people who inspired her along the way.
“Being a transplant recipient is a lifelong and transformative journey. Reaching 20 years is particularly momentous when you consider that the average kidney transplant lasts just over 10 years,” said Valen. “Letters of Hope is the resource I wish I had growing up. I’ve tried to package my experiences in an honest, vulnerable way to address major issues impacting the transplant community.”
From all her friends and colleagues at the Transplant Diagnostics business of Thermo Fisher Scientific, we wish her a heartfelt congratulations on this milestone anniversary and well-deserved award for her one-of-a-kind docuseries.
At just one-week old, Amelia needed a heart transplant. Discover how she's thriving, reaching baby milestones, and looking forward to many more.
Marcus Roberts went from pursuing a career of service to struggling to stay alive. Discover how a dual transplant has helped him live a healthier, fuller life.
Kadin Hoven is a 16-year-old music enthusiast and 3-time kidney transplant recipient. See his story and learn how you can help transplant patients like him.
After she received a heart transplant, Ava Kaufman made a promise to give back. Today, she saves lives by providing transplant housing to patients in need.
When Dayna and David met as college students, they never thought that 40 years later, Dayna would give David her kidney. Read the story of their kidney transplant journey and lifelong friendship.
This organization helps renal patients in diverse communities who have limited financial resources get access to transplant and donor information, assistance getting on the waitlist, help raise funds for medical expenses, and provide dietary and emotional support.
Dr. Kelley Hitchman shares her experience as a living kidney donor and an expert in transplant histocompatibility and immunogenetics at UT Health.
This Los Angeles-based organization provides critically needed assistance that insurance does not cover to transplant patients including the mandated pre- and post-transplant local housing, assisting donor families with burial expenses, and promoting organ donation.
In this video, our patient advocate, Valen Keefer, shares the emotions she felt when receiving a kidney transplant diagnosis and discusses ways to cope while processing the news.
Many children with life-threatening and chronic illnesses would not have the opportunity to have a camping experience. This summer camp provides these children the opportunity to meet other children sharing a similar experience and enjoy being a kid.
Keefer and Dr. Lawrence were in Boston to attend the 2022 ATC. Keefer hopes to encourage more Americans to become organ donors, and to serve as a resource for those facing future transplantation.
While each person’s journey is unique, here is an overview of what you can expect to experience before, during, and after your transplant.