“Rejuvenate was an angel in my life,” says kidney transplant recipient

Alan Phillips had been on the national transplant waiting list for three years when his employer connected with Rejuvenate Kidney Transplant Solutions, a company that reimagines kidney care by helping patients and their payers access kidney transplants faster. Rejuvenate identified Phillips as a candidate for a transplant, and seven weeks later, he was matched with a kidney.

As he neared the second anniversary of his lifesaving surgery, Phillips met up with Rejuvenate’s co-founder and CEO, Dr. Mike Rees, to talk about his hopes, fears and gratitude. The following exchange is an excerpt from their conversation:

“My favorite thing about today is seeing your pink cheeks,” says Dr. Rees. “When I first saw you, you were gray and sick. Now you’re vibrant and full of life. What is your favorite part of life post-surgery?”

Phillips: “Having my life back and being healthy, again.”

Dr. Rees: “What does that mean – to have your life back?”

Phillips: “I can do more exercises and spend time with my daughter. We like to go walking, swimming and play on the playground.”

Dr. Rees: “How are things at work?”

Phillips: “Work is 100% better. I can do my job now without being fatigued. Before the transplant, I would be doing something, and I would have to stop and rest.”

Dr. Rees: “If you are at 100% now, how effective do you think you were as an employee before the transplant?”

Phillips: “I would dare say I was at about 40%.”

Dr. Rees: “Wow. And did that just slowly creep up on you?”

Phillips: “Over time. As my creatinine levels increased, I just continued to feel worse.”

Increased levels of creatinine are a sign of poor kidney function. Phillips was getting ready to start dialysis when he received his first phone call from the team at Rejuvenate.

“Rejuvenate was just one of four major players in your journey to transplant,” notes Dr. Rees. “Your transplant team, your employer and your own physician are also part of your success story. What was it like to see these four entities come together on your behalf?”

Phillips: “It was just awesome. Everybody cared. They pulled out all their resources to help me and get me to where I am today. It was just awesome.”

Dr. Rees: “When you thought about getting a kidney transplant and having to leave your home state of South Carolina for the procedure in Ohio, what were your fears?”

Phillips: “I had a fear of the unknown, going under the knife. I had never been to Ohio, and here I was, meeting all these new people. But once I arrived, everyone made me feel welcome. You all sat me down and told me what to expect. You eased my fears a great deal.”

Dr. Rees: “I remember that, with your transplant, you got put on a waiting list really fast. And then you got called right away, but things didn’t work out. Can you tell us about that?”

Phillips: “We got the call, but the kidney that was supposed to be available turned out not to be available. We had to fly back home. It was a little bit disappointing, but then we got the call to fly back up. When I first got the news that I was going to get the kidney, it was exciting. I thought, gosh, I get my life back. I was so happy.”

Dr. Rees: “Were there any financial concerns? And if so, how did Rejuvenate help you manage all that?”

Phillips: “Rejuvenate took care of all the expenses: flight plans, hotel rooms, and transportation to and from airport. That was one thing we didn’t have to worry about going through this whole ordeal. Rejuvenate took care of all our worries about travel and expenses.”

Dr. Rees: “That’s great. We want to make you feel as though you have, as we like to say, a big brother. When you think of Rejuvenate, who and what were they in your life?”

“Oh gosh. Rejuvenate was an angel in my life,” says Phillips. “It was just a miracle. That’s what I tell everybody: A miracle. A breath of fresh air. Hope. So many other words come to mind. I can’t fully express the gratitude I feel toward Rejuvenate and its staff.”

Rejuvenate partners with brokers, benefits consultants, captives and self-insured employers to transform lives and greatly reduce health care costs by creating opportunities for kidney transplants. Schedule a call today to find out how Rejuvenate can help.

This interview has been lightly edited for length and clarity.