In January 2007, after fighting for nearly a year for the opportunity, Christina became a nontraditional living kidney donor through an intimate tribute to her aunt who died of renal failure at the untimely age of 31. Christina was 14 years old at that time and was dismissed as a candidate for donation because of her age. She set it in her mind that one day she would make a difference to someone. At the age of 31, for obvious reasons, Christina approached her local transplant program with the intention to donate anonymously to someone on the transplant waiting list and was initially refused the opportunity.
It didn’t take long to discover that very few nontraditional donor programs existed nationwide. Christina initiated the Share Life Foundation and used the media to raise awareness about the need for nontraditional donor programs. The media attention generated an outpouring of support and an introduction to the man that would eventually become her recipient.
With a combination of time, patience, and a great deal of persistence, nondirected donor protocols were established. Christina and her recipient were among the first to participate in the revolutionary program. She went on to write about her experience in an article published by Progress in Transplantation entitled, “Perspective of a Nontraditional Living Donor” (June 2008).
Christina’s ambitions didn’t stop there. In March 2007, Christina channeled that passion through her nursing career as a Procurement Transplant Coordinator. One year later she passed her ABTC Certification and served two years on the Procurement Ad Hoc Committee with NATCO where she taught the CPTC Review Course. That same year, Christina was appointed Counselor at Large on the UNOS Living Donor Committee. During her tenure, she was nominated to the KPD (Kidney Paired Donor) Pilot Program work group where she served on both the Interim Policy and Donor Chains Subcommittees to establish the protocols for the National Kidney Paired Donor program in effect today.
Christina’s passion and leadership in the organ donation and transplant industry is illustrated through many career accomplishments and speaking engagements. As a sponsored associate member of the American Society of Transplant Surgeons, she wrote an abstract that was published and selected for presentation at the ASTS Winter Symposium in Marco Island, Florida. She has been a guest speaker at the National annual NATCO Conference in Boston, Massachusetts, as well as a keynote speaker at the University of Alabama Birmingham Grand Rounds, Alabama Organ Center Annual Conference, Baylor Symposium on Living Donation, Methodist Dallas Liver Institute Annual Patient Recognition and Town Hall, and LifeGift’s annual Team Hope Conference.
Christina has worked in the procurement and transplant industry for 13 years. During that time, she has served in supervisory roles and explored the culture of various OPOs through her experience as an independent contractor. She has also worked as a Liver Transplant Coordinator with Methodist Dallas Liver Institute. Christina was honored for her work with LifeGift through the Dr. Charles Van Buren Award for Excellence in Organ and Tissue Donation in 2018.
Christina received her Associates Degree in Nursing from Bevill State Community College and post graduate work at the University of Alabama at Brimingham. Christina resides in Fort Worth, Texas with her four beautiful children, Caleb, Kammie, Clayton, and Colton.
When we turn on the news, we hear of all the negative and devastating things that are happening in the world. I am blessed to experience what most people never do, through my calling in this industry. I get to work with the BEST that humanity has to offer through the lives of those who have loved and lost but haven’t lost their capacity to love. Their compassion for the needs of others has inspired my life. When I help heal others, something inside of me heals. That’s the Gift behind the Gift of Life. The Mother of one of my donors once told me that I was ‘the best part of their worst day’. We all need healing and compassion… a glimmer of hope during our darkest hour. That’s what drives me most.