Ellie discovered that she had a condition called “osteochondritis dissecans.” Many questions came to mind, but the most important one brought her to tears: “I’m getting married in September. Please can I walk down the aisle? Will I have my surgery by then?” She left the appointment with many unanswered questions.
“I know my transplant was different than a heart, liver or lung, but to me this is as important as any of those,” she said. “I can honestly say without this transplant, I would not be up and walking. I wouldn’t be able to get out at all and watch my kids play soccer and run around the playground or even go to the store.”
When Rachel met with Dr. Brian Cole of Rush University Medical Center, she learned she was a candidate for a meniscus transplant. Since donor meniscus tissue is matched to the recipient by size, she was placed on a waiting list. Three weeks before starting medical school, she received her match.
Now an orthopedic surgery resident at Rush University Medical Center, Rachel works alongside Dr. Cole, the surgeon who helped her heal. Many of her research projects involve allograft applications and her experience as an allograft recipient provides a unique connection to her patients in need of a tissue transplant.
Dr. Brian Cole from Midwest Orthopaedics at Rush discusses the evolution of orthopedic/sports medicine and the role of regenerative medicine and medical technology...past, present and future.
For Kyle Oliverio, sports were important growing up because it was about family. When thinking about what the donor tissue meant to Kyle and how it changed his life, he finished with this thought: “It changed my attitude on life, appreciating every day, living in the moment, accepting the way things are and not trying to change that. It really changed my life.”
Though he lived with pain for several years after his first surgery, his wakeup call came in early 2014 when Phil and his wife welcomed a beautiful baby boy. He knew he needed to take action.
During her recovery, Jen set a goal for herself: she wanted to run one final marathon as a tribute to her meniscus donor. She accomplished her goal in October 2014, completing her fourth and final race. She sent her finisher’s medal to her donor’s family to express her gratitude.
Rachel was an athlete during her undergraduate years and like most competitors, she was determined, focused and intense. When a knee injury jeopardized her ability to finish her final soccer season, she simply played through the pain. Inspired by her experience, Rachel chose orthopedics as her field of specialty in medical school
At the beginning of summer, five-year-old Elizabeth, began complaining about an ache in her arm. The big sister of a newborn, Elizabeth’s parents wrote it off to the “typical” behavior of an attention-seeking sibling. But when the pain in her arm started waking her up at night, her parents we knew that this was not typical at all.