CNM Instructor Who Donated Kidney to Student Wins Medals in Transplant Games

August 3, 2016 -- After CNM reading instructor Jennifer Adams donated a kidney to one of her students two years ago, she became determined to get in the best shape of her life. She began exercising, running and kickboxing regularly.
August 03, 2016

She learned about the national Transplant Games, a sporting competition open to people who have donated organs, as well as organ recipients, and decided she wanted to participate. Adams signed up for the competition portion held June 10-15 in Cleveland, Ohio, and began a vigorous training schedule in November.

“I wanted to challenge myself -- wanted to run somewhere different,” she said. “It felt good.”

Her efforts paid off. She won four medals at the national competition – including gold medals in the 5k run for her age group, the 200-meter dash and softball throw events. She also won a bronze in the 800-meter run and participated in the 1,500-meter run but did not place. However, she says she ran her personal best.

Adams will be participating in a kickboxing competition in October and next year will compete in the World Transplant Games in Spain.

The CNM instructor, who teaches reading in the School of Adult & General Education (SAGE), said she became a kidney donor after she assigned students in her class to write an essay about a life-changing event they had gone through. A student wrote about her struggles with failed kidneys, which required her to have dialysis three times a week. The student had a 7-year-old daughter and was concerned that she wouldn’t live long enough to see the girl grow up.

After the student read her essay in class, Adams became so moved that she felt she had to help. That turned into donating a kidney to the student.

After the surgery, Adams made a full recovery, due in part to her exercise routine.

Less than a year after Adams donated a kidney, she established a Kidney Walk in Albuquerque, which was a first step toward opening a National Kidney Foundation office in New Mexico. Five volunteers worked faithfully on the project, culminating in New Mexico’s first Kidney Walk in May 2015. Money raised at the Kidney Walk allows New Mexico to tap into the National Kidney Foundation’s many resources.