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The Chris Klug Foundation joins the American Society of Transplantation to promote organ and tissue donor registrations

The Chris Klug Foundation (CKF), a national non-profit located in Aspen, announces it has joined the American Society of Transplantation’s (AST) Living Donor Circle of Excellence program as a Strategic Partner. With nearly 103,000 people waiting for a life saving transplant, CKF and AST are joining forces to raise awareness of the critical need for registered organ, eye, and tissue donors and encourage the support of a ground-breaking initiative that is reshaping the support of living transplant donors, according to a press release.

The Living Donor Circle of Excellence is a no-cost recognition program. It celebrates companies that help their employees who wish to be living donors by removing the financial barrier of lost wages. The monetary hardships associated with living organ donations are one of the major discouragements, and this helps combat that concern. To become a member, companies and organizations simply adopt a policy guaranteeing a minimum of four weeks salary pay at 80% of an employee’s usual wages.

“Living donors are heroes amongst us. Their gift is lifesaving for patients needing a kidney or liver transplant and has a huge positive impact on society,” said John Gill, MD, with AST. “We are thrilled to partner with the Chris Klug Foundation to raise awareness about living donations through the Circle of Excellence.”

Currently, over 103,000 children and adults are waiting for a life-saving kidney or liver transplant. Of the transplants performed in 2023, living donors accounted for 31% of kidney transplants and 5% of liver transplants. Financial disincentives are a barrier for many potential living organ donors. Living organ donation typically includes a four- to six-week recovery period, and many will use their vacation time or take unpaid absences during this period to donate.

“The Chris Klug Foundation is proud to be a Circle Member, and we are honored to join forces with AST as a Circle Partner,” said CKF Executive Director Jessi Rochel. “In the past, our foundation has focused primarily on increasing the deceased donor registry.

With the incredible advancements in living donation, we are eager to do our part to help spread awareness, as we advocate for both deceased and living donation.”

There are multiple ways to support organ, eye, and tissue donation, including visiting and to see how you can help; register to become a donor and share your wishes with your family; join the Circle of Excellence through; and follow @ChrisKlugFoundation and @AST_Transplantation on Instagram, and search for them on Facebook for the latest updates.

CKF was established in October 2003 by Olympic Bronze Medalist and liver transplant recipient, Chris Klug. He was 21 years old when he discovered he needed a transplant, and he subsequently spent six years on the waitlist before receiving his lifesaving liver. He started CKF to promote the heroic gift of organ, eye, and tissue donation nationwide and to improve the quality of life for those touched by transplantation.

Founded in 1982, AST is an organization of more than 4,000 professionals dedicated to advancing the field of transplantation and improving patient care by promoting research, education, advocacy, and organ donation. The society is the largest transplant organization in North America and is recognized as the premier society for transplantation. 


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