Gold Medal Gift

May is a world-class martial arts competition medalist and school teacher in the San Francisco Bay Area. May teaches twenty-five hours a week while preparing for competitions.

A few years ago, May’s left knee began to swell after workouts, and physical therapy wasn’t helping. She met with Dr. Warren King, but resisted his recommendation for surgery because it would interfere with her competition schedule. Injections were used to both reduce the inflammation and lubricate her knee. While the initial effects were positive, in time May’s pain and frustration returned.

Several months later, Dr. King spoke to May about an allograft tissue transplant. The idea of receiving donated human tissue as a medical therapy was new to May, but she also learned this was her best chance to resume and maintain her active lifestyle. May agreed to the procedure.

Once donor tissue became available, Dr. King performed the surgery. May’s outcome and recovery were quite remarkable. May was challenged by the physical therapy prescribed to make her knee stronger; it was tough but worth it.

May says her knee is nearly 100 percent and she does not really think about it during competition. The following year, as a member of the US Wushu team, she won two individual World Championship medals in China. When she returned home, she sent the medals to the Joint Restoration Foundation, along with a letter requesting the medals be given to her donor family. She recognizes without their kindness, she would never have been able to compete again.

May continues to teach and compete and brings a new vigor to both. She views her recovery as a gift and wants to make the most the new opportunities it affords her.