Kidneys for Communities launched its Kidneys for First Responders initiative with its first kidney transplant recipient, New York City Police Officer Melissa Quinones. The transplant was facilitated with assistance from the Police Benevolent Association of the City of New York. This initiative is a testament to the power of community in addressing the pressing need for kidney transplants among first responders.
Kidneys for Communities’ Kidneys for First Responders initiative is designed to improve access to and facilitate living kidney donations by connecting those who want to help first responders with those who are in need of a lifesaving kidney donation.
In 2018 after receiving an end-stage renal disease diagnosis, Officer Quinones, an 18-year veteran with the New York City Police Department, did not find a successful match among the many people in her circle of family and friends who offered to donate. After more than four years of waiting, the kindness of a stranger who wanted to donate to a police officer led to Kidneys for Communities working with both the NYPD, the largest municipal police department in the country, and the NYC PBA to coordinate Officer Quinones’ successful living kidney transplant in October 2022 at the New York-Presbyterian Columbia University Medical Center. The donation made to Officer Quinones is one of many in a paired kidney exchange that has saved multiple lives.
Killing more people than breast cancer or prostate cancer, in recent years kidney disease has been named by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as a leading cause of death in the U.S. However, the Kidneys for First Responders initiative offers hope. As Dr. Lloyd E. Ratner, who performed Quinones’ transplant, affirms, “The community-directed model, now available to interested communities and pioneered by Kidneys for Communities, is a common-sense approach to growing the pool of living kidney transplant donors. As more communities come on board, we expect it will shorten the critical waiting time for transplant recipients and save lives.”.
Learn more about our Kidneys for First Responders Initiative.