Hundreds of students came together on May 12 to celebrate the completion of their college careers at La Salle University’s undergraduate graduation ceremony.
Two of them wouldn’t have had the opportunity to go to college, let alone walk across the stage and accept their diplomas, without receiving the gift of life through an organ transplant.
Kevin Brighter was born with life-threatening kidney disease.
Both of his parents were a match, and at just 2 years old, the Bucks County resident received a kidney from his father at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. But 17 years after that initial transplant, the family knew something was wrong when the then La Salle junior began to experience significant swelling. Brighter had to go on dialysis because his kidney was failing. Unfortunately, his mother, Maura, was no longer a match for her son, so they looked into other options.
Brighter received a kidney November 2017 at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania. Soon after Brighter’s mother donated her kidney to someone she never met as part of a paired kidney exchange program to save her son’s life.
“There are no words to put together to explain what a transplant means, the best way for me to show others is to live my life to the fullest each day and to try and give back to the community who has helped me so much. I remain thankful each day for the gift of good health,” Brighter said.
Brighter graduated from La Salle University with a Bachelor of Science in integrated science business and technology.
Both Brighter and heart transplant recipient Jake Hafer were recipients of the Jessica Beth Schwartz Memorial Scholarship. The scholarship goes toward giving young transplant recipients a chance for a higher education.