Renewed Hope: A Kidney Recipient Creates a DIY to Support Care   

Renewed Hope: A Kidney Recipient Creates a DIY to Support Care

After receiving a life-saving kidney transplant at Hackensack University Medical Center, grateful patient LaVise McCray of Jersey City is paying it forward through a DIY Fundraiser to support the Division of Organ Transplantation and help transform care for other patients like her. 

LaVise began dialysis in 2015, shortly after being diagnosed with kidney failure at age 35. The next seven years with end-stage renal disease presented serious health and personal challenges for the special education teacher. There were surgeries and setbacks and by 2022, LaVise lost her ability to walk and was beset by internal bleeding, sepsis and, to top it off, COVID-19. Things were dire and LaVise was placed on the medically necessary transplant list at Hackensack in 2023. In March of that year, she received a life-saving kidney transplant from a deceased donor. Although her prognosis is good, LaVise must take medication for the rest of her life. Fortunately, she no longer needs dialysis, has more energy and plenty of gratitude.

“This time last year I was dying and now I’m alive...I’ve been given this miracle and I want to pay it forward,” says LaVise. “I owe so much gratitude to the medical team at Hackensack. Dr. Michael Goldstein and the organ transplant division are the most amazing people you could meet in your life. They provided a holistic approach to my care, and suggested counseling, for instance, when I faltered emotionally during my long journey.”

LaVise’s fundraiser coincides with National Donate Life Month, which focuses attention on the need for organ, eye and tissue donation. The commemoration stresses the importance of donor registration and honors deceased and living donors by celebrating the lives they saved. 

In sharing her story, LaVise hopes to raise awareness and share the hope and resilience that have marked her journey. 

“I wanted a way to say thank you and honor my donor,” says LaVise, who was widowed during her health crisis. She also volunteers with NJ Sharing Network, is a dialysis mentor and is an active part of TransplantLyfe Forum, a community of recipients, donors, caregivers and experts.

“The challenges made me a stronger person,” she says, crediting her faith, family and friends, along with her medical team. “Hackensack stuck with me from the very beginning, and I want to help someone get the same opportunities I was given.”

We are so proud of LaVise, and know her desire to give back will help patients. We wish her the best of luck! To learn more about how you can support the Division of Organ Transplantation at Hackensack University Medical Center, contact Courtney Klein, director of Development, at


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