Emory transplant recipient raises funds to support organ donation

Woodruff Health Sciences Center | April 30, 2019

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Photo Courtesy: Kirk Franz

According to Donate Life America, every 10 minutes another person is added to the national transplant waiting list. April is national Donate Life Month which helps encourage Americans to register as organ, eye or tissue donors to help save lives.

Emory Healthcare liver transplant recipient Kirk Franz knows first-hand the incredible impact donors make. In 2009, doctors diagnosed him with a rare liver disease and bile duct cancer.

"I had to undergo six weeks of chemotherapy and radiation at Winship, before I was placed on the transplant list," says Franz, recreation manager for the City of Johns Creek.

"I’m very blessed to have been diagnosed quickly and in Metro Atlanta," says Franz. "If this happened 15 or 20 years ago, I wouldn’t be a candidate for a transplant due to my condition and likely would’ve had to travel for my treatment."

After Franz recovered from his liver transplant, he searched for ways to create awareness about organ donation and to give back. He created the Swing Easy Hit Hard Foundation and organized an annual charity golf tournament to raise funds for people who need an organ transplant.

"We’ve raised more than $75,000 and hope to continue to do more to support the Georgia Transplant Foundation and Emory Transplant Center," says Franz.

Franz says he’s truly grateful for the organ donor who gave him a second chance.

"Before being diagnosed and transplanted, I spent too much energy worrying about small things," says Franz. "This experience has helped me focus on what’s really important – quality time with family, friends and living to the fullest." Franz says he has an incredible appreciation for the doctors, nurses and the Emory Transplant Center team who cared for him and made the process as easy as possible.

"Organ donation is that one final gift or blessing that you can give someone and really change their lives forever," says Franz.

For more information about being an organ donor in Georgia, visit www.donatelifegeorgia.org.

Emory Transplant Center

As one of the top 12 transplant centers in the nation, Emory Transplant Center is at the forefront of clinical excellence and pioneering new transplant therapies. The center offers cutting-edge technology and superior outcomes in heart, kidney, liver, lung and pancreas transplant surgeries. Emory Transplant Center, a part of Emory Healthcare, has performed more than 9,400 transplants to date and all solid organ programs meet Transplant Centers of Excellence quality outcome criteria. The center's core mission is to provide exceptional care for patients in need of organ transplants, while offering access to the latest transplant technology. Emory Transplant Center is the first transplant center in the nation to earn a Patient-Centered Specialty Practice recognition from the National Committee for Quality Assurance.