From left, Molly McCarthy of Redmond, Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler of Washington’s 3rd Congressional district and Kirkland resident Tami Sadusky at the American Society of Transplantation’s Patient Summit. Courtesy of Kevin Allen

From left, Molly McCarthy of Redmond, Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler of Washington’s 3rd Congressional district and Kirkland resident Tami Sadusky at the American Society of Transplantation’s Patient Summit. Courtesy of Kevin Allen

Eastside organ recipients represent Washington at national transplant summit

Two local organ donation recipients represented the transplant community last month at the inaugural Transplant Patient Summit in Washington, D.C.

They were joined by more than 100 other recipients from around the country who advocated for all organ donors and recipients.

Tami Sadusky of Kirkland and Molly McCarthy of Redmond, represented Washingtonian transplant recipients at the summit, which was hosted by American Society of Transplantation (AST). The summit was held from Oct. 23-24 and aimed to bring two donors or recipients from each state to the nation’s capital, where they advocated for transplant research funding and legislation.

“This initiative is a way to bring the patient’s voice into working with the professional research scientists,” Sadusky said. “It’s a force, of sorts, to raise awareness and hopefully raise funding.”

AST started the Power2Save initiative to advocate for better transplant research and for legislation that protects living organ donors. Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler of Washington’s 3rd Congressional District has been working with the initiative to raise awareness for transplant research and her new bill, the Living Donor Protection Act of 2017.

The act aims to help organ donors by making it easier for them to get life insurance and simplifying the donation process, according to McCarthy.

“It diminishes people’s concerns about what their future holds when they’re being evaluated to be a donor,” she said.

Sadusky and McCarthy have both received multiple transplant organs and are living with suppressed immune systems — like all other transplant recipients.

“You get someone else’s organ and just like if you get a sliver, your body would recognize that as foreign,” McCarthy said. “In order to keep our organ, we have to take immunosuppressive medications, which diminishes the immune system.”

This problem makes transplant recipients more exposed to illness and infection. McCarthy has even dealt with skin cancer because she’s been immunosuppressed for 25 years.

“As long as you stay away from germs, you’re pretty ok,” she said. “Coughs, colds, flus, anything down to papercuts, it takes you longer to heal once you have them.

McCarthy said this is because transplant recipients have less to battle with than others in these scenarios.

Currently, this is simply a side-effect of receiving a transplant. The medications are balanced so that a recipient doesn’t reject the transplanted organ but also doesn’t die of a common cold, but many recipients still need new organs within a couple decades, according to Sadusky.

“Having a transplant is not a cure,” she said. “It’s a saving grace, we all get another life through it, but it’s not a cure.”

This is why the summit also focused on raising awareness and education.

“Transplantation is not a trendy disease,” Sadusky said. “So we need to make that a special effort to tell others how important it is.”

Sadusky and McCarthy both said they’re relatively healthy for transplant recipients and that many people often assume that after a transplant, they’re done with their treatment.

“I think many of my own friends’ and colleagues’ perception is that it’s a once and done, but really it’s the first step of a completely different journey,” McCarthy said. “It’s certainly a much better way to live, but yet there needs to be more research and there needs to be more awareness so that we can better treat people to keep their transplants longer.”

For more information about organ transplantation, visit www.myast.org or power2save.org.

Sadusky and McCarthy encourage people to talk to friends and family about organ transplantation and get educated about it.

“In the days of such a shortage of donor organs, they become even more precious,” McCarthy said. “So any efforts — be they research, funding or any of those connected areas — certainly helps all of us who’ve already been transplanted and certainly helps the next generation of transplant recipients.”


In consideration of how we voice our opinions in the modern world, we’ve closed comments on our websites. We value the opinions of our readers and we encourage you to keep the conversation going.

Please feel free to share your story tips by emailing editor@redmond-reporter.com.

To share your opinion for publication, submit a letter through our website https://www.redmond-reporter.com/submit-letter/. Include your name, address and daytime phone number. (We’ll only publish your name and hometown.) We reserve the right to edit letters, but if you keep yours to 300 words or less, we won’t ask you to shorten it.

More in News

West Point Treatment Plant in Seattle. Photo courtesy of King County
Power outages cause massive wastewater spill into Puget Sound, Lake Washington

King County estimates millions gallons of untreated wastewater overflowed into surrounding waters.

Democrats in the Washington State House are proposing to pay for transportation improvements partly by raising the gas tax by 18 cents. (Sound Publishing file photo)
House Democrats lay out massive $26B transportation package funded by gas tax hike

An 18-cent gas tax increase and a fee on carbon emissions would fund new roads and more.

File photo
Report: 70 percent of gun deaths in Washington are attributable to suicide

Research done at The Firearm Injury and Policy Research Program at Harborview… Continue reading

June 2018 algae bloom. Photo courtesy of Department of Ecology
Human-caused ‘dead zones’ threaten health of Puget Sound

Wastewater treatment plants account for about 70% of the excess nutrients.

Robert Allen, 61, had never been homeless in his life before 2019, when he lost his housing. The chef has been trying to get back on his feet, and hopes to open a nonprofit and make hot sauce. File photo
King County implements 0.01% sales tax to raise money for housing the homeless

Officials plan to buy hotels, motels and nursing homes for conversion into permanent housing.

Teaser
Social media site Parler returns after registering with Sammamish company

The right-wing social media website is not being hosted by Epik, but registered its domain.

Photo by Elvert Barnes/Flickr
Seattle renters seek cheaper rent in surrounding cities

One factor includes the ability to work remotely, according to housing economist.

Local restaurants have had to adapt to new rules during the COVID pandemic. Pictured: JP’s Tavern in Federal Way’s turkey club sandwich with a side of tater tots. File photo
State lawmakers propose bill to fast-track the governor’s reopening plan

Bill’s sponsors want to give legislature control over COVID-19 restrictions.

Fentanyl. (Courtesy photo)
King County reports record numbers of drug overdose deaths

Preliminary toxicology testing shows most overdose victims used multiple types of drugs.

Most Read