Two-time kidney transplant recipient raises awareness for minority organ donation

TIME FREE PRESS |  Elizabeth Fite
Natalie Cothran, a science teacher at East Lake Academy, is a two-time recipient of a kidney transplant.Staff Photo by Robin RuddNatalie Cothran, a science teacher at East Lake Academy, is a two-time recipient of an organ transplant. Ms. Cothran was photographed in her classroom on Friday. Photo by Robin Rudd /Times Free Press.
“Our transplant markers may be different, but our kidneys are all the same color.” Clive Callender, transplant surgeon and professor
We all have something to give, and for Natalie Cothran, one of those gifts is teaching.

So when she rebounded from the kidney failure that forced her early retirement, she said it was time to get back in the classroom.

"I felt like I still had something to offer," said Cothran, a two-time kidney transplant recipient who teaches eighth-grade science at East Lake Academy in Chattanooga. "I have a story to tell the kids, and that's actually how I start off my school year. I tell them my story. I tell them my struggles."

It was a stranger's choice to become an organ donor that gave Cothran her kidneys, but too few people — particularly minorities — donate organs. That leaves some minority individuals who need organs with genetic compatibility struggling to find matches. Continue reading

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