Board of Directors

Tracey Hulick:

I donated my kidney to a stranger in May of 2017 in Madison, Wisconsin, starting a national donor chain where four people received kidneys. I had run marathons and ultramarathons prior to my donation and wanted proof that I could continue to race long distances with one kidney. My lack of living examples of endurance athlete kidney donors inspired me to start Kidney Donor Athletes back in August of 2018! I have raced in two ultras since donation (a 50 miler and a 100k) and happily landed on the podium each time, with my remaining kidney well intact. I am beyond excited to have this amazing line-up of incredible people, and passionate kidney donation advocates to help me grow this organization!

me

Bobby McLaughlin:

January 2, 2019, the day my kidney made its move to help at that time, a total stranger. It’s wild to think Devon’s new kidney has been alive almost twice as long as he has….but they’re both happily enjoying life together 🙂 Living in the Seattle area provides endless outdoor activities near and dear to my heart. But the opportunity to help others is the predominant feature of what will be the second half of my life. Kidney Donor Athletes provides the perfect opportunity to combine two of my great loves in life, and I’m thrilled with this opportunity to serve on the board of directors as we help grow this most amazing community we all love so dearly.

Congratulations to Bobby on being elected President of Kidney Donor Athletes in September 2021!

Bobby

Shawna Sampson:

I am a proud Montana native, love my dogs Homer and George, enjoy running and fitness, and am always daydreaming of adventures to come. My one kidney journey started June 26, 2013, when I donated to my cousin Sammi at the Mayo Clinic. I’m a social worker and have nearly 20 years’ experience working in non-profits, including Board development. I’m excited to bring that experience to KDA and help raise awareness about kidney donation and this inspiring community!

Shawna

Katie Wheeler:

I donated a kidney to my mother on September 25, 2018, in Kansas City, MO. As I’m currently living in Denver, I’ve been able to attend many events with other kidney donors and get to know other people in this community. Being connected to people who understand what I’ve gone through is immensely helpful. As someone who did not know other living kidney donors prior to my donation, I am thrilled to be a part of an organization that connects with both donors and potential donors as well as demonstrates that you can save a life through kidney donation and still be the athlete you were before.

Katie board pic

Steve Wilson:

I am a 53-year-old Financial Coach from Katonah, NY.  My journey to becoming a non-directed kidney donor started with a bike ride in June 2019 and came full circle on February 6, 2020, when I donated my kidney to a 53-year-old woman in Seattle, WA.  Some would say I donated my kidney to a stranger, but I prefer to think of it as recycling my kidney to a lifelong friend I haven’t yet met.  While I do hope to meet her in person, I know that if we don’t, the friendship and bond we share will be no less enduring.

I am excited and honored to be appointed to the Board of Kidney Donor Athletes.  My involvement with KDA will allow me to combine my love of Ironman Triathlons with my passion for raising awareness about living organ donation—a life-saving process that many individuals do not realize is even possible.  I have been invited to compete in the 2020 Hawaiian Ironman World Championships in Kona, Hawaii, where I will proudly represent Kidney Donor Athletes worldwide. I am grateful to Team Ironman Foundation for the opportunity to advocate for living organ donation at this international event.

Steve

Sarah Hawkins:

My name is Sarah Hawkins. I currently live in San Luis Obispo, CA – otherwise known as the Happiest City in America! I became a kidney donor athlete on February 6, 2019, when I donated my left kidney to Dr. Terry Gillian, the father of a friend from elementary school who lost his kidney function to an adrenal tumor. I don’t have any more spare kidneys to share, but I still want to share something of myself and being on the Board of Directors for KDA allows me to share my story and my gifts to facilitate future kidney donations from the athlete community. / “Whoever saves a life saves the world” – Israeli Proverb

Sarah H

Karen Berenson:

I am a life-long Wisconsinite who spent many years playing softball in small towns, and volleyball in even smaller gymnasiums. Seven years ago I ran my first marathon in memory of my brother-in-law and I haven’t taken a break from running since crossing that finish line. I’ve now completed a dozen marathons, an ultramarathon, and opened up my own running and nutrition coaching practice in Milwaukee’s eclectic Third Ward. I reside in downtown Milwaukee with my husband Paul and two Italian Greyhounds, Lucci and Bana, who have perfect running form! On November 29, 2019, I was blessed with the opportunity to donate my right kidney to my big sister, Nancy who had fought kidney disease, diabetes, and liver disease for the better part of 35 years. Not a single one of my running or professional accomplishments could hold a candle to the feeling of sharing life with my sister. Several weeks after surgery I came across the KDA web site while searching for guidance about returning to running. Suddenly, I was meeting a whole world of people who had experiences just like mine… who had answers to questions just like mine…and who could share personal experiences and not just anecdotal evidence. Beyond that, I felt like I had a support team that was going to help me get back to a level of fitness that would once again serve me. I am passionate about making KDA a high-profile, well-known organization with both living donor coordinators and donors themselves. There is truly nothing I won’t do to help other athletes who help save lives like my big sister Nancy’s.

Karen

Natalie Nuce:

I took a step of faith in 2018 to put my name in the hat to be tested as a potential donor for a friend’s daughter. After nearly a year and a half of testing and waiting, I was determined a perfect compatible match for the recipient and donated my kidney on July 16th, 2020 (right in the middle of Covid)!  The choice I made opened up a whole new world of understanding related to living donation but also a community that would become near and dear to my heart.  A super active person in my 50s, it was important to me that I come back to full health and capacity after my donation, and I did!  You can usually find me outside either hiking or walking with my dog, paddleboarding, sailing or cruising the lake in my boat.  I love to camp, bike ride and play competitive tennis in the Atlanta area.  A nonprofit professional working for Habitat for Humanity, I am thrilled to get to contribute skills and expertise to the KDA board and community.

Wendy Johnson:

In 2019 I tried to donate my kidney to a friend but learned I wasn’t a match. From there, the ensuing journey and benefit of my donation grew in ways I couldn’t imagine. By participating in the kidney donor registry, my friend became a recipient from a non-directed donor and my kidney went to a woman who lives way up north, in Utqiagvik, Alaska which has the unique distinction of being known as the most northern town in the world. 

I have been so fortunate to have met (and continue to be in touch with) the people in my donor chain. Stepping up to be a living donor expanded my impact on both my old friend and now my new friend from Utquagvik. I also gained a new inspiration in my life, our non-directed donor who introduced me to KDA.  

I’ve worked in or with nonprofits for most of my career, over 30 years. But none of the organizations I was affiliated with represent such a personal connection to me as KDA. At 63 years old, I’m not an ultra-athlete, so I’m grateful to represent our “active” contingent. I became involved with KDA because we are telling the story that you can live a full, active life with one kidney. This mission and these people represent generosity, health, hope and vitality in all the best ways.  It’s really about life; giving someone another shot at life and living our best lives. And it’s a deep honor to be part of that story and to help share it with others. 

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