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Transplant doctor and organ donor climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro to raise awareness

Friday, Feb. 23 at 4 p.m., family and co-workers will join in a big send-off and flag-signing for Dr. Kelley Hitchman who is climbing Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania to raise awareness for organ donation.

As the director of the lab at our University Health Transplant Institute she matches compatible organ donors with recipients, and has witnessed the hope and difficulty patients face as they await the organ they need to regain health. In July of 2021 she decided to do more than support patients through her work. She donated one of her own healthy kidneys to someone she’d never met – just because she could.

The experience has only heightened Dr. Hitchman’s desire to encourage others to become organ donors. She’s now a member of the national Kidney Donor Athlete’s team that’s taking their commitment to increase donations on a weeklong climb to the 20,000 foot summit of Mt. Kilimanjaro. She’s been training for this. We’ve attached some photos.

We’re gathering Friday to cheer-on Dr. Hitchman and to sign a flag she’ll carry on her climb. We’re so proud that it bears the names of University Health Transplant Institute and Donate Life America. We can’t wait to see it on top of the mountain!

Join us for the flag-signing and sendoff beginning at 4 pm, Friday, Feb. 23. Dr. Hitchman is available for interviews beginning at 2 p.m. Let us know in advance and we’ll make arrangements.


Dr. Kelley Hitchman, University Health Transplant Institute physician and supporters


A flag signing and send-off as she prepares to climb Mt. Kilimanjaro to raise awareness of the need for organ donation


4 p.m. Friday, Feb. 23


Cypress Room, University Hospital at 4502 Medical Drive. Park in the new Visitors Garage accessed from Medical Drive. Take the interior walkway into the main hospital and meet at the information desk. Vouchers will be provided if needed for parking.

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