Kidney Transplant Recipient Donates Gold Medals to ECMC, UNYTS

1:24 PM, Oct 17, 2013   |    comments
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BUFFALO, N.Y. - Running means a lot to one Buffalo native.

At 70-years-old, Barb Breckenridge has 30 medals in competitive track and field. And she wouldn't have had the victories she's won, without the help of a kidney transplant.

At least once a week, Breckenridge makes a stop at ECMC. And when she does, the Buffalo native is usually visiting patients who just had a kidney transplant or are getting dialysis.

14-years-ago Barb got a kidney transplant when she had a disease called lupus, which causes the immune system to turn against the body -- causing it to harm organs and tissues.

And a few years after the operation, Barb got on the world stage by winning in the U.S. and World Transplant Games, a tournament for those who have had a transplantation.

Barb shares her stories with the people she meets.

"It's very encouraging for newly transplanted people and also for people on dialysis because we have a lot of them waiting for organs and they can wait with the hope that they too can be like me," said Breckenridge, who has bronze, silver and gold medals.

"I got them in a little bag, and I don't display them, and I come home, it's fun winning them and I'm proud of them, but it's not about the medals and it's not about me," she said.

It's about showing appreciation to those who have helped.

And that's why she's donating a dozen of her medals to ECMC and UNYTS, which helped save her life.

"These medals could be some place to encourage people and to give people hope," Breckenridge said.

Barb still needs to manage the disease by eating well and exercising. She has seen the world by competing in countries like Australia, Sweden and South Africa. But, one thing that Barb would love to do is meet her organ donor.

She continues to send letters to UNYTS, which are then sent to the donor, to keep the donor's identity confidential.

Maybe one day they'll meet.

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