Can you believe I took a kidney from a Patriots fan?

Beth and Michael Classen use their love of football to support organ donation and transplantation.

Share:

Michael Classen sends his daughter, Beth, a photo wearing this question on a t-shirt. She sends him one back wearing another that says, “Can you believe I gave a kidney to an Eagles fan?”

Michael Classen, left, poses next to his daughter, Beth, right, in their football t-shirts.

Now that the Eagles and Patriots are to meet in the Super Bowl on Sunday, they had an excuse to make the t-shirts. “We saw something similar with a Steelers fan,” Beth says. “We said we’d do it too if our teams ever meet in the Super Bowl. My daughter designed them for us.”

Michael received his first kidney transplant when his own began to fail from kidney disease. However, about a year later in 2010, a virus attacked it, requiring another transplant. All three of his children got tested and Beth was a blood match. “There wasn’t a decision to make,” she explains. “I just had to make sure my dad was OK with it. I had my fingers crossed that I could do it the whole time.”

Beth and her husband flew to Philadelphia from their home in Massachusetts the day before the surgery. The Family House had yet to be established, but they were able to stay in a hotel nearby at a discounted rate. On December 1st, Beth and Michael suited up in their matching hospital gowns and booties, and the surgery went seamlessly. They recovered together at his home nearby in New Jersey; she claimed the couch and he, the recliner. “We spent time watching TV together and pushing each other to walk around. It was the most time we’d spend together in a while,” she reflects.

Now, seven years later, Michael is doing just fine. He volunteers from time to time at the Family House. Each Christmas, he and Beth donate to the Family House in each other’s names. “I think it’s an amazing organization,” Beth says. “Unfortunately, it wasn’t around when my dad’s transplant happened.”

Beth tries to be an advocate for organ donation when she can. “Nobody thinks about it until it happens to them,” she explains. “I didn’t. I try to spread the word as much as I can.” She is humbled by the organ donor community all the time. “Just the other day, I met a man at work wearing the green donate life bracelet. It’s a small world.”

Beth and Michael have agreed that they will not let the outcome of the Super Bowl effect their relationship.

News & Events

#VolunteerSpotlight: MTF Biologics

MTF Biologics has been spending a lot of time in our kitchen cooking meals for transplant families.

Hand Prints of Hope

NASRCAR's Joey Gase visited the Family House to help raise awareness of organ and tissue donation.

My First Home was Gift of Life Family House

When he was finally able to leave the hospital's care, the Family House became Asher's first home.

Thomas Jefferson University Hospital Pledges to Support Family House

Jefferson Hospital made a $250,000 pledge to support transplant families at the Family House.

We've Got You, Mom

Nicole became her mother Donna's caregiver and together, they navigated the transplant journey.

Corporate Spotlight: Laundry Made Easy

Our friends from Hercules Laundry generously donated five new washer and dryer sets!

Getting by With a Little Help From our Friends

As part of our Caregiver Lifeline Program, we bring in therapy dogs to spend time with our guests!

The Flight For My Life

Karen's life-saving transplant relocated her and her family over 350 miles from home.

#FacebookFUNdraiser: Anthony Vetrano

Learn why Anthony decided to host a Facebook fundraiser for the Family House!

From Hospital to Home

"My stay at the Family House gets better each time," says Lauren, a past Family House guest.

Grown Up and Giving Back

Read about Mya, a liver recipient and employee, and her experience here at the Family House.

Families Joined by Love and Life in Family House Kitchen

The Hess and Palmer families come together to celebrate the life of Mason Hess.

Family Close By

“Having my wife nearby was especially helpful to my recovery,” Tim says.

#SupporterSpotlight: Facebook Fundraisers

Did you know you can hold an online fundraiser to support the Family House on Facebook?

Gift of Life Volunteer Recognition Ceremony

Gift of Life Family House honors volunteers at the Gift of Life Volunteer Recognition Ceremony.

Peter Mansaray, father of a heart recipient and past Family House guest.

A Father & Son Journey

"...by the time we left [the Family House], I left with a whole family.”

Legacy Society members Elizabeth and David Kennedy.

Leaving a Legacy

David and Elizabeth are leaving a legacy with planned gifts to the Family House.

Stay Connected

Sign up to receive email updates featuring transplant stories of hope and ways you can get involved with the Family House.

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.