Two-time kidney transplant recipient encourages people to give the gift of life

Christina Casumpang, 48, of South Philadelphia, is a two-time kidney transplant recipient. She is sharing her story to raise awareness about the critical need for organ donors. On Sunday, April 28, 2024, she is walking in the Gift of Life’s 27th Annual Donor Dash at the Navy Yard. 

 “I am a very private person, but I felt it was important to tell my story,” Casumpang said. “One organ donor can save up to eight lives and a tissue donor can heal about 100. I hope my story encourages people to sign up to be a organ donor.”

Surviving Sepsis 

In  2006, Casumpang was five and half months pregnant when she got sick. Due to complications from her pregancy, she developed maternal sepsis. Sepsis is a serious condition in which the body responds improperly to an infection. The infection-fighting processes turn on the body, causing the organs to work poorly.

Casumpang recalled being in the ICU as doctors worked to save her and her daughter’s life. Despite their best efforts, her infant daughter passed away. 

“Right after I delivered her, I started to get red blotches on my body [caused by sepsis],” Casumpang said. “I went into a coma for a month. My kidneys shut down. When I woke up, my room looked like a shrine.”

She immediately began dialysis and was placed on the national transplant list. 

More than 100,000 people in the U.S. are waiting for a transplant, and more than 500,000 rely on a demanding regimen of kidney dialysis to stay alive. 

The Gift of Life 

 On October 3, 2011, she received her first kidney transplant. In 2015, she had to go back on dialysis. [Organs from deceased donors typically don’t last as a long as a living donor.]

“On December 20, 2018, the same date my grandmother passed away on, I got blessed with another kidney,” Casumpang said, “and I came home on Christmas Day.” 

Casaumpang doesn’t know anything about her organ donors, but she is forever grateful. 

“I feel very blessed,” she said. “I don’t talk about it too much.”

The 27th Annual Gift of Life Donor Dash

“I have always been involved in Gift of Life Donor Program,” Casaumpang said. “I am excited about walking and raising awareness about the importance of organ donation.” 

Gift of Life Donor Program is the nation’s leading organ procurement organization coordinating more organ and tissue donors than anywhere else in the United States.

Rick Hasz, Gift of Life Donor Program president and CEO, said The 2024 Dash for Organ and Tissue Donor Awareness raises critical funds to support organ and tissue donation awareness. 

“The Dash has something for everyone including 5K and 10K runs, a 3K walk, Kid’s Fun Run, games, food trucks and live entertainment featuring Hip-Hop artist Philadelphia Freeway,” he said. “Freeway is one of the thousands of transplant recipients and donor family members who will be there to show that organ donation and transplantation work and have a huge positive impact on families throughout our region.”

Learn more about organ donation and sign up to be an organ donor today!