Jackson Resident Eileen Wiederspan Celebrates 10-Year Anniversary of Her Lifesaving Kidney Transplant, Inspiring Hope and Advocacy for Organ and Tissue Donation

JACKSON, NJ - Eileen Wiederspan of Jackson, NJ, recently marked a decade since receiving a lifesaving kidney transplant. Eileen is now living life to its fullest and has become a passionate advocate for NJ Sharing Network, the nonprofit organization responsible for the recovery of donated organs and tissue in the Garden State. She inspires others to register as organ and tissue donors and provides support as a mentor to those awaiting lifesaving transplants.

“I am living life to its fullest, cherishing every moment with my family and friends, and forever grateful to my organ donor for giving me this precious gift of life,” said Eileen.

Born in Brooklyn and moving to New Jersey at the age of 5, Eileen met her husband Phil and married in 1990. They have lived in Jackson for the past 25 years. Eileen and Phil are the proud parents of Ashley, 31, and twin boys, Bradley and Matthew, who are 22.

In addition to recently celebrating her transplant anniversary, Eileen has also been filled with joy since Ashley gave birth to Eileen’s first grandchild, Everly, on January 2, 2024.

Reflecting on her health journey, Eileen recounts her struggle with kidney problems that led to dialysis treatments. Despite her health concerns, she maintained a positive outlook and even did dialysis treatments while vacationing in Disney World, turning her experiences into moments of resilience. In 2007, Eileen was added to the kidney transplant waiting list. After several ‘false alarms’ on kidney matches, she received the gift of life from an anonymous 35-year-old female donor on December 15, 2013.

“My kidney transplant was during the holiday season and just one day before my birthday. You simply can’t ask for a better gift than that,” said Eileen.

Eileen, who works as a senior secretary at a special needs school in Monmouth County, has dedicated much of her free time to giving back to others. Shortly after her lifesaving transplant, she connected with NJ Sharing Network and began volunteering by providing information at health fairs and town events, including Jackson Day. Eileen also participates in NJ Sharing Network’s annual 5K Celebration of Life and organizes an annual “Dine to Donate” event to fundraise for her 5K team, Eileen's Transplant Trotters.

“I love volunteering with NJ Sharing Network. If I share my story and convince just one person to register as a donor, then I feel that I have done my job to help save lives,” said Eileen. “I always like to say, ‘Why take your organs to heaven - heaven knows we need them here.’”

According to United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS), there are over 100,000 Americans – nearly 4,000 of whom live in New Jersey – waiting for a lifesaving transplant. To learn more, get involved, and join the National Donate Life Registry as an organ and tissue donor, visit www.NJSharingNetwork.org.

PHOTO CAPTION – Eileen and Phil Wiederspan of Jackson, NJ (Photo Credit – Courtesy of NJ Sharing Network)

About NJ Sharing Network

NJ Sharing Network, headquartered in New Providence, NJ, is the federally designated non-profit organization focused on saving and enhancing lives through the recovery of donated organs and tissue in the Garden State. NJ Sharing Network partners with an extensive network of 54 local hospitals to provide hope for the nearly 4,000 New Jersey residents currently waiting for a lifesaving organ transplant, and it is part of the national recovery system for the over 100,000 people on the national transplant waiting list. For five consecutive years, NJ Sharing Network has reported organ donation records, and 3.8 million New Jerseyans are registered as organ and tissue donors, according to the New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission (NJMVC). NJ Sharing Network has also been recognized by NJBIZ for six consecutive years as one of the state’s ‘Best Places to Work.’ To learn more, get involved, and join the National Donate Life Registry as an organ and tissue donor, visit www.NJSharingNetwork.org.

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