What Do These Celebrities Have in Common?

What do the celebrities listed below—among them, athletes, actors, musicians, of different ages, races, and ethnicities—have in common? They’re all healthier, and very likely happier, because a living kidney donor gave them a shot at a better quality of life. The best way to shorten someone’s wait for an organ–rich or poor, famous or not–is to find a living donor.

Some of these live-kidney transplant recipients have been spokespersons for National Kidney Foundation campaigns, and some, like former NBA star Alonzo Mourning, comic George Lopez, and former NFL star John Brockington have even launched their own kidney disease awareness foundations. (Did you know that my dear WELD [Women Encouraging Living Donation] started as an offshoot of the John Brockington Foundation?) Other celebrities have turned to the media to share their transplant experiences. Selena Gomez and her donor, Francia Raisa, gave several major interviews in 2019 on Gomez’s transplant.

Chronic kidney disease is even more common than breast cancer or prostate cancer–yet the general public knows very little about it. If more celebrities who’ve been touched by kidney disease and transplant would tell their life-changing stories, it could encourage more people to have their kidneys checked, register as organ donors, and even consider being living donors. All those actions would go a long way toward reducing the years-long wait for a kidney and ultimately saving more lives. By the way, celebrity status and money offer no privileges on the national waiting lists for a deceased donor.

How many of these celebrities did you know had had successful kidney transplants (the year of their transplant is next to each name)?

Stevie Wonder 2019

Ed Kranepool 2019

Selena Gomez  2017

Tina Turner 2017

Aron Eisenberg 2015

Sarah Hyland 2012

Tracy Morgan 2010

George Lopez 2005

Alonzo Mourning 2003

John Brockington 2002

Sean Elliott 1999

 I wish them all continued good health with their “new” kidney. My son has had more than 13 years with his (that is, mine).