Tissue bank employee becomes tissue recipient  |  December 3, 2010

AlloSource’s H.C. Martensen forges a deeper connection
to his work

Tissue bank employee and transplant recipient H.C. Martensen in the 2008 Vineman Iron Distance Triathlon in California. Now, five months after his ligament transplant, H.C. is recovering well and planning to participate in a triathlon in June.

H.C. Martensen works in the AlloSource tissue processing core where he is faced with the powerful realities and possibilities of tissue donation and transplantation every day. He also has the utmost confidence in the allografts that he and his tissue bank colleagues produce, so much so that he recently requested one for his own transplant.

Over the summer H.C. returned to his former university, Colorado College in Colorado Springs, for an alumni soccer game. He played on the team in college, and since then remained very athletic, participating in triathlons and skiing. However, at the time of the game, it had been a while since he’d played soccer. Following a cutting motion on the field he felt his leg let go below the knee. H.C. instantly knew what had occurred, not only because of his work, but also because a close friend had sustained a torn ACL just three days prior.

Shortly thereafter a surgeon confirmed it – H.C.’s ACL and lateral meniscus were torn and he needed surgery and an allograft transplant. Although the surgeon did not historically use allografts from AlloSource, H.C. made a special request to have his graft come from the tissue bank.

His surgery required a patella ligament bone-tendon-bone graft, which he received from a 33-year-old male donor.

“Just a few years older than me,” H.C. said. “It added to the perspective that I’ve had. I’m presented with the reality of the business we’re in everyday. Seeing young donors come in is hard. Now that I’ve personally benefitted I’m further grateful for the gift of donation and even more aware of what we do.”

Since his surgery in June, H.C.’s recovery has been progressing very well and he just completed his final functional evaluation in physical therapy. Although his knee isn’t yet 100%, he knows it shouldn’t be back to normal this soon after the injury, and his road to recovery has been swifter than other patients with similar injuries.

Of course, H.C. intends to make the most of his gift of life – he will shortly begin training for triathlons in June and August.

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