Kidney update: Rollman’s gift saved nine lives

erin jessicaBy John Moore
Sept. 27, 2013

On Sept. 8, we told you in a Denver Post story all about how Buntport Theater’s Erin Rollman set off a life-saving chain by volunteering to give up one of her kidneys to a stranger. What we didn’t know then was just how many lives her sacrifice would eventually save.

We know now: It’s nine.

Rollman signed up for a revolutionary new transplant program that asks each kidney-failure patient to have a willing donor partner — someone who would be willing to offer up a kidney to a loved one, but they don’t match. Now, should the National Kidney Registry identify a compatible kidney for the dying patient, that person’s healthy donor partner agrees to give up a kidney that then goes to another stranger.

A chain typically continues until the patient in need is either a child without a donor partner, or an adult with what is called “a high-panel reactive antibody” that makes it unlikely that any other donor will be found.

When we told you Erin’s story, the NKR had identified a chain of three successive recipients, but the matching process had only just begun. Today, Jessica Johnson, transplant coordinator at Porter Hospital, reported that Rollman’s chain had reached a final total of nine, and that all patients were recovering.

“Eighteen people a day die on the waiting list,” said Johnson. “Erin took nine people off that list. It takes other wonderful donors, but none of it happens without an Erin to start the chain. This is a true testament to just how much Erin’s gift really is.”

Rollman’s reaction to the news? “”I just had so much fun doing it.”

Last night, Rollman and Johnson attended the American Transplant Foundation’s annual Heroes Awards Gala in Denver. (See photo.)

Read Erin Rollman’s full story in The Denver Post here

For more information on shared kidney donation, go to: