It was just a year ago this week that the article regarding my kidney transplant and my returning to work at the Chamber was run in U.S. 1. I appreciated the article, but I appreciated even more the conversations around the lifesaving importance of organ donation that the letter generated. I wanted to update the U.S. 1 readers, one year later, on the outcome of my transplant and the personal impact of what receiving a new life has meant to me.

It is really a story about the courage and faith of my brother, who along with several other individuals whom I will never forget, volunteered to donate their kidney to me. It is about the team of doctors and nurses who spent over nine hours in the operating room going through amazing micro-surgery to replicate exactly the intricacies of my brother’s kidney in its new home. It is about the hundreds of friends I know, and friends I will never be able to thank, who sent me their prayers and wishes for a speedy recovery. It is about my wife Patti, my caregiver who spent five weeks at my side. It is about being able to wake up a year later, free of the disease that was killing me and look up to a blue sky with white clouds drifting overhead and be thankful.

Since the transplant I have been blessed with a new grandson. I have gone through the loss of my father (who died knowing that his oldest and youngest son were going to be fine), the wedding of my nephew, and the celebration of my mother’s 90th birthday. I’ve spoken with individuals who are suffering with the same challenges I did in needing a kidney transplant, and I’ve cried when other friends I’ve met who’ve had loved ones pass on without the chance to ever revive a kidney transplant.

I am lucky in that I had a hero in my brother Paul, who was my donor, but there are thousands of people like me in Central New Jersey who need a hero to step up and help them. According to the United Network for Organ Sharing (www.unos.org), there are approximately 2,600 people waiting for a kidney in New Jersey alone.

Every day I work at trying to give hope to others who face life ending chronic diseases. To achieve that goal, I have agreed to support kidney patients and their families in Mercer County and Central New Jersey by serving as the chairman of the National Kidney Foundation’s Central New Jersey Kidney Walk. I hope that you can join me, and hundreds of others, in Trenton on Sunday, June 7, at Arm & Hammer Park as we walk to help support kidney research and to provide assistance to families facing kidney disease. It is but one small step that I, my brother, and our families are taking to give back and fight chronic diseases.

If you can’t walk, please donate at http://donate.kidney.org/centralnj and help another person have a new chance at life as I have been given.

Peter M. Crowley

President & CEO, Princeton

Regional Chamber of Commerce

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