Letters of Hope: A New Docuseries by Valen Keefer and Thermo Fisher Scientific Aims to Educate and Empower Transplant Patients

Welcoming the Transplant Community to a Screening of the Award-Winning Series

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.

Donate Life Hollywood awards Letters of Hope series with the celebrated “Inspire Award!”

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!

At 39 years old, Valen Keefer has spent half her life as a transplant recipient.

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.

"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."

Valen Keefer | Kidney & Liver Transplant Recipient

A Well-Deserved Celebration with a Gift to the Transplant Community

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.