Stories of Hope: Valen Keefer


Since the day she was born, Donate Life Ambassador and UKRO National Spokesperson, Valen Keefer, has faced a challenging medical heritage. Everyone on her mother’s side has suffered from polycystic kidney disease (PKD). Valen was diagnosed with PKD at the age of 10 and is the youngest in her family to endure such severe side effects from the disease. From age five, she battled through seizures, scoliosis surgery, pancreatitis, a bilateral nephrectomy, dialysis, a congenital anomaly, and more than 70 blood transfusions—until finally, on August 13, 2002, she became the first in her family to receive a life-saving kidney transplant.

Today, Valen is a woman with a passion to educate and inspire. Her threefold mission is to promote organ donation, increase public understanding of the importance of research into kidney disease and to help spread awareness of PKD.

An accomplished public speaker, she shares her message of hope through her award-winning biography, My Favorite American, to audiences throughout North America. Her altruistic efforts have earned many accolades and awards.

“I feel as though the best way to thank my kidney donor is to make her proud,” says Valen. “I show my appreciation by living each day full of passion, positivity and purpose. My hope is that my triumph over adversity will set an example that one can lead a full filling life post transplant and still manage an incurable kidney disease. It is important to me to show donors how grateful recipients are and that their ‘gift’ is life changing.”

To follow Valen’s inspirational journey, please visit her weekly blog at

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