Donna King, Senior Laboratory Supervisor joined NJ Sharing Network shortly after the organization opened in 1987. Now, the New Jersey nonprofit is celebrating 30 years of saving lives through organ and tissue donation and transplantation. In her position, King oversees the life-saving work of the transplant laboratory, primarily handling compatibility testing that matches organ donors and transplant recipients. While the actual testing is performed by a team of technologists, King works with them to piece together patient background, medical history and other relevant information to create a complete picture. Through her work, she interprets results and completes reports that – ultimately – give the final approval for a transplant. Since NJ Sharing Network’s lab opened, King has seen significant changes in research and technology that makes what was once seen as impossible, now possible.
“The medical field has grown immensely in terms of organ and tissue donation research. This has made it possible for the number of successful organ transplants to increase over the years; transplants that would never have been feasible 30 years ago are happening all the time,” said King. “Even after all this time, my job feels rewarding each and every day knowing I make a difference in someone’s life.”
“The dedication and passion of the lab staff is a testament to Donna’s role as a leader and supervisor of our team,” said Dr. Prakash Rao, Director of Transplant Laboratory and Vice President of Diagnostics & Research Operations, NJ Sharing Network. “She played an important role in the life-saving changes in technology and research that enable us to exceed expectations for organ and tissue donation. Donna is a tremendous asset to NJ Sharing Network’s team.”
King earned her Bachelor of Science in Medical Technology from Kean University. During her undergraduate program at Kean, she participated in a one-year medical technology internship at University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey (now part of Rutgers University), which included hands-on training at several hospitals in New Jersey.
In addition to her laboratory responsibilities, another way King is involved in supporting NJ Sharing Network’s mission is the organization’s 5K Celebration of Life. She, along with her family, participates in the event each year. The 5K Celebration of Life brings together thousands of walkers, runners and volunteers to honor those who gave the gift of organs or tissue, pay tribute to those who have received a transplant, offer hope to those currently waiting for a transplant and remember those who have died while waiting for the gift of life. The 5K Celebration of Life will be held on June 4 at NJ Sharing Network’s headquarters in New Providence.
“In 2016, NJ Sharing Network saved more lives than ever before,” said Joe Roth, president and CEO, NJ Sharing Network. “Donna and the rest of our transplant laboratory team’s dedication to our mission is critical to providing this life-saving gift to so many.”
To date, there are over 120,000 people waiting for a transplant and 22 die each day while waiting, but one organ donor can save eight lives and one tissue donor can restore health to over 75 people. In New Jersey, there are over 4,000 people on the waiting list and one person dies every three days waiting.
New Jersey residents can help save lives by registering as organ and tissue donors at www.NJSharingNetwork.org, having a conversation with family and friends and joining NJ Sharing Network at its upcoming events.