Kidney Donors Become Friends

Lee Adams and Marla Zielinski

A shared experience of living kidney donation brought two strangers together to forge a lifelong friendship of fundraising and advocacy on behalf of kidney transplant patients.

Lee Adams and Marla Zielinski met in 2008 through the University of Maryland Transplant Center's Donor Buddy Program. Lee donated her kidney to her brother-in-law in 2007. A year later, one of the transplant center nurses requested that she serve as a "buddy" for Marla, who was going through the living donor kidney evaluation process.

With the compassionate care and expertise of the transplant team, and support from Lee, Marla donated her kidney to her mother in 2008.

The two kidney donors continue to keep in contact years later. Together they have raised thousands of dollars to advance the mission of transplantation through their trademarked "Giving While Living" fundraising efforts, including a yearly Living Donor Country Concert. Lee was also in Marla's wedding.

In addition to linking kidney transplant recipients with potential living donors, the comprehensive and compassionate care provided by the University of Maryland Transplant Center allows patients and their families to develop lasting relationships with physicians, nurse coordinators, other transplant recipients and donors.

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