A Brother's Living Kidney Donation Enables His Sister to Continue Outstanding Community Service

Recipient of the American Kidney Fund's 2011 "Humanitarian of the Year" Award, Ellen Slotnick credits her brother and the staff at Mount Sinai for inspiring her and making possible her work on behalf of kidney charities and those with or at risk for kidney disease.

Soon after the birth of her daughter Rebecca in 1985, Ellen Skolnick was diagnosed with the connective tissue disease, "Diffuse Scleroderma." Holding her newborn was nearly impossible due to the swollen joints and daily nausea and vomiting caused by this disease. Scleroderma eventually destroyed her kidneys. By the time Rebecca was three years old, Ellen required life-sustaining kidney dialysis treatments.

In 1992, Ellen received her first kidney transplant from a deceased donor. For many years she enjoyed a feeling of wellness and independence from dialysis. When Ellen's transplanted kidney stopped working, it was her younger brother, David, who volunteered to give her one of his kidneys.

"Every anniversary of my transplant I send a "thank you" lunch to the kidney staff. These kidneys were my gift, but all of the staff at Mount Sinai enabled me to get it and keep it. I always send my brother a delivery of bagels and lox from Barney Greengrass on "our anniversary," and my family in New Mexico celebrates together!"

Today, Ellen continues to visit dialysis patients and provide information and hope about transplantation, as she has done for more than two decades. She is the team captain and a major fundraiser for the annual National Kidney Foundation Walk. In 2011, she received the "Humanitarian of the Year" Award from the American Kidney Fund for all of her community service and outreach efforts.