AlloSource Tournament of Roses Float Rider Shares Her Story of Receiving Allograft  |  September 2, 2009

May ChenIn September 2008, allograft recipient May Chen visited AlloSource to share her remarkable story of recovery and preview her involvement as the AlloSource float rider on the Donate Life Float in the 2009 Tournament of Roses Parade.

As a world-class martial arts competition medalist and popular teacher in the San Francisco Bay area, May Chen, 61, teaches 30 hours a week and practices for competitions and performances. She also serves as a judge at international martial arts competitions.

In early 2005, May’s left knee began to swell after workouts, and physical therapy didn’t help. She met with doctors but resisted surgery because she felt it would interfere with her competitions. Cortisone injections and later hyalgan injections were used to lubricate her knee, but after three months the initial positive effects wore off. In November 2005, her doctor suggested an allograft transplant. At first May felt strange about donated tissue, but then decided that it would be her best chance at resuming a normal life. Once donor tissue became available, she had the surgery, and her recovery was quite remarkable.

“Physical therapy to make my knee stronger was tough, but worth it,” said May. “My knee is almost 100% where it was before. It does not limit me in competition.” In 2006, as a member of the U.S. Wushu team, May won two individual World Championship medals in China. When she returned home, she sent the medals and a note to AlloSource, and asked that the medals be given to the donor family. May recognizes that without their kindness, she would never have been able to compete again.

May continues to teach and compete with a new life and vigor to her practice. She views her new knee as a gift and intends to keep making a difference with it.

AlloSource continued the tradition of sending two employees to the Tournament of Roses Parade to personally witness the Donate Life float, which included May and 25 other float riders from around the country who have been touched by organ and tissue donation.

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