Retired Jersey City teacher has life saved with successful kidney transplant


A retired Jersey City public school teacher had her life saved in March thanks to a successful kidney transplant due to the efforts of the NJ Sharing Network.

LaVise McCray, photo courtesy of the NJ Sharing Network.

By John Heinis/Hudson County View

LaVise McCray, of Jersey City, 44, is taking time to reflect on the gift of life and is now focused on ‘paying it forward’ by supporting NJ Sharing Network’s life-saving mission.

“I share my kidney transplant journey on social media and with everyone that I meet to inspire others to be a symbol of hope and encourage people to register as organ and tissue donors,” McCray said in a statement.

“My faith journey has had many triumphs and many challenges, but I never gave up. I am alive today thanks to my amazing medical team, my loving family and friends, and my generous organ donor hero who gave me the gift of life.”

In June 2015, McCray was diagnosed with End Stage Renal Disease. She continued to work as a special education teacher while doing her intense dialysis treatments at night.

Unfortunately, her health concerns worsened over time, and she temporarily lost function in her right hand.

By 2022, McCray was hospitalized frequently, had emergency surgeries, and spend time in the ICU from a variety of health issues. She was placed on the kidney transplant waiting list in March of this year.

“I knew I was getting weaker and weaker, but I prayed to God for a miracle. It was a Friday night at 6:30 p.m. when my phone rang,” she recalled.

“The caller said, ‘Hi LaVise, are you ready?’ I had no clue at first what they were talking about, but the next words changed my life forever. They said, ‘Your kidney is ready.’”

On March 25th, McCray was given a second chance to live life to its fullest thanks to a successful kidney transplant at Hackensack University Medical Center.

According to United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS), nearly 4,000 New Jersey residents are waiting for a life-saving transplant, and 67 percent are people of color. One organ and tissue donor can save eight lives and enhance the lives of over 75 people.

“During National Minority Donor Awareness Month and throughout the year, our caring and compassionate team of dedicated staff, volunteers and community partners are unstoppable in their efforts to help educate others and dispel myths and misinformation about organ and tissue donation in our diverse communities throughout New Jersey,” stated NJ Sharing Network President and CEO Carolyn M. Welsh.

E. Denise Peoples, the hospital and community services specialist for NJ Sharing Network, is a double-lung transplant recipient from Newark who works throughout the year to promote the group’s life-saving mission in local schools, faith-based organizations and community associations.

“We have all experienced how health issues such as hypertension, diabetes and kidney failure have impacted those around us – our mothers, fathers, aunts, uncles, friends and neighbors. That is why there is a greater need than ever for donated organs for transplant among our ethnic minorities,” she added.

To learn more, get involved, and join the National Donate Life Registry as an organ and tissue donor, click here.

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