Jim Brien Wins Astellas Bounce-Back Award
Astellas, in collaboration with the Chris Klug Foundation (CKF), will be presenting Jim Brien (pictured left) with their Bounce Back, Give Back Award on December 9 in Aspen CO. The award recognizes two transplant recipients who exhibit an exceptional post-transplant quality of life, whether it is a career accomplishment, participation in a sport or hobby or simply leading a fulfilling life with family and loved ones.
Jim received a kidney transplant from his brother 35 years ago after a lengthy battle with kidney failure. Since then, he has been very committed to educating and inspiring others about the importance of organ donation. He has served as a volunteer with UW OTD, and with the US Transplant Games as a member of their Athletic Advisory Board. Jim participated in eight US Transplant Games, seven International Summer Transplant Games, six International Winter Transplant Games, and many runs and bike rides promoting organ donation. He enjoys sharing his story during presentations to high school students, community groups and civic organizations; and is an organ donation policy advocate with his local legislature.
“The Bounce Back, Give Back Award is about celebrating active and healthy lives post-transplant, as well as educating and encouraging all transplant recipients in their post-transplant journey,” said Jeff Winton, Senior Vice President, Corporate Affairs at Astellas. More than 65 nominations representing individuals from 24 states were received for this year’s awards.
The other award winner, Valen Keefer, has demonstrated a commitment to spreading the word about Polycystic Kidney Disease (PKD) and advocating for organ transplantation while honoring her donor. After being diagnosed with PKD at age 10, Valen battled serious health complications until receiving a lifesaving kidney transplant at age 19. Since that time, she has dedicated her life’s work to being an ambassador for the cause. A blog writer for the PKD Foundation, Valen has published more than 210 articles.