Source: New Jersey Newsroom
Jeremy Starr of Wrightstown to represent Edison transplant foundation in Pasadena, Calif.
Not only does he do his part to support his country, but Jeremy Starr is also doing his part to raise awareness of the impact of tissue donation. The decorated Air Force Technical Sergeant will represent the Musculoskeletal Transplant Foundation (MTF) on the Donate Life Float in the 2010 Tournament of Roses Parade in Pasadena, Calif., on New Year's Day.
Technical Sergeant Starr, originally from Virginia and now living in Wrightstown, N.J., was handicapped with a serious knee injury, a life-changing injury.
But Starr's determination and tenacity took center stage.
And helping him along the way was the Musculoskeletal Transplant Foundation, a non-profit tissue bank located in Edison, N.J., that provided the tissue used for Jeremy's successful knee surgery.
Currently assigned to the 305th Aerial Port Squadron at McGuire Air Force Base in New Jersey, Starr was on active duty in Aviano, Italy in 1999, when he was backed into a hole while playing football and snapped his knee. The result was a torn ACL and two meniscal tears.
His knee was repaired in 2001, but while stationed in Kunsan, Korea four years later, he re-injured his ACL and was told his military career was probably over. Then, in the spring of 2006, while stationed in Hawaii, he met the surgeon who would save his military career.
Lt. Col. Daniel White, MD of the Tripler Medical Center in Honolulu, told Jeremy that the injury had caused his left leg to bow, a condition which would prevent him from remaining in the Air Force, where he enjoyed a career leading over 60 military personnel daily.
Dr. White performed a two-phase surgery, the first correcting the bowing of his knee with a procedure called a tibial osteotomy, and the second, using a donated tendon and meniscus allografts to repair Jeremy's ACL and to replace both meniscus. Extensive physical therapy followed both surgical procedures.
An exceptional athlete in track and field since high school, Jeremy was delighted when he ran his first mile recently in just 10 minutes.
"MTF and Lt. Col. White have allowed me to continue my career in the military, and my love for cross country running," said Jeremy. "Even at 30 years old, I can out-run most of the younger personnel in my unit. It is a great feeling and I owe most of it to Dr. White, my tissue donor and MTF."
The Musculoskeletal Transplant Foundation, the nation's largest tissue bank, changes lives by connecting donors with surgeons and transplant recipients. As a non-profit service organization, MTF is dedicated to providing quality tissue through a commitment to excellence in education, research, recovery and care for recipients, donors and their families. Since its inception in 1987, MTF has recovered more than 60,000 donors and has distributed more than 3 million grafts for transplantation.
"MTF is privileged to have Technical Sergeant Starr represent us in the Tournament of Roses Parade," said Bruce Stroever, MTF President and CEO. "Jeremy brings honor to his country as he serves in the military, and he brings distinction and respect to the field of transplantation as a tissue recipient. We are very proud of his accomplishments."
Jeremy Starr is participating in the Donate Life Rose Parade on an individual and voluntary basis. His voluntary participation does not constitute US Air Force or Department of Defense endorsement for, sponsorship of, or preferential treatment toward MTF or its affiliates.