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Life Stories: Transplanted Tissue Enables a World Championship Performance

May Chen May Chen

Tissue Recipient and Living Organ Donor: Harlingen, TX

As a world-class martial arts competitor and teacher, May Chen relies on her physical skills and mobility. As she neared 60 years old, her knees began to swell after workouts. The Chinese athlete tried physical therapy and steroid injections with little lasting relief. Her doctor suggested an allograft transplant.

At first, May felt strange about donated tissue, but decided it would be her best chance of resuming a normal life. She had the surgery as soon as tissue became available and made a remarkable recovery. “My knee is almost 100% where it was before,” explains May. “It does not limit me in competition.”

Only one year after her surgery, May went on to win two world championship medals in China. When she returned home, she sent her medals to Allosource, the tissue recovery agency, and requested that they be sent to her tissue donor’s family. May recognizes that without their kindness, she would have never been able to compete again.

World champion martial arts competitor
May Chen continues her winning ways with an allograft transplant. 

May views her new knee as a gift and intends to keep making a difference with it.

May’s story is courtesy of California Transplant Donor Network, Oakland, CA.


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