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Student Spotlight on Brooke Jackson

Student Spotlight on Brooke Jackson

Kent State senior Brooke Jackson is a second year Physical Therapist Assistant (PTA) student president of the PTA club, and most recently, an organ donor. Over the summer Jackson made the life changing decision to donate one of her kidneys to a longtime friend.

Jackson chose not to mention the name of her friend for privacy concerns. “I never even knew she was sick,” Jackson said. “We remained close during college and during a visit home my friend disclosed her kidneys were only functioning at 20%”

Without hesitation Jackson offered to undergo testing to see if she was a possible match. “As a very independent and a bit stubborn person, she refused to allow me to be tested,” Jackson said. “A few months later she found out her kidney function had dropped to about 10% and she was going to have to go on dialysis.”

With the reluctant approval of her friend, Jackson received testing at the Cleveland Clinic where she underwent a 48 hour kidney donor work up to assess whether or not she was a match.

“I was a match; however, the committee at the clinic would have to make a final decision.” “The waiting was unbearable and finally after several months we got the final decision from the committee that I was not an ideal donor.”

Jackson inquired about the decision and was informed that at the age of 21 the committee believed she was too young to make a decision of that magnitude.

Not willing to give up, Jackson and her friend decided to contact Ohio State’s Medical University.  “We contacted their kidney donor coordinator and told her I had already had a full work up from the Cleveland Clinic and mailed her all of my results. They liked what they saw in my chart and told me they prefer to have younger donors for many reasons, but mainly younger people bounce back faster.

For months, Jackson continued to undergo more testing, with multiple trips to the hospital and to Columbus. “Finally after many calls and documents and lab tests we were able to schedule our surgery for the following week,” Jackson said.         

The surgery was a huge success. Jackson and her friend began the road to recovery and saw tremendous results. “Her new kidney was functioning perfectly,” Jackson said. “I could not be more thrilled with how things worked out.”

Just three weeks after her surgery Jackson volunteered to work the Goodness Invasion, currently the largest food drive in Ohio.
Jackson’s selfless actions are admirable and set a good example for all who know her.  Kent State is proud to share stories that highlight the wonderful students, faculty and alumni who make our University great.

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