Giving, Organ Donation

10 Pioneering Medical Transplants

One deceased organ donor can save as many as eight lives between organ and tissue transplants possible.  On Wednesday 10/10/18, asks New Yorkers to “Unleash Your Inner Hero” and sign up for organ donation.  This is especially urgent in the Empire State, since it is 50th out of 50 states in percentage of registered organ donors at a paltry thirty-three percent.  Here’s a list of ten Pioneering Medical Transplants – the genesis of real life heroism.   

1665 The First Recorded Successful Blood Transfusion

It was in the 17th century the earliest known blood transfusion is attempted.  In 1628 English physician William Harvey discovered blood circulation. Not long after, the earliest known blood transfusion is attempted.  In England in 1665, the first recorded successful blood transfusion was performed, but not on humans. Man’s best friend really earned its name by being the test subject for this life saving procedure.  Physician Richard Lower kept dogs alive by transfusing blood from other dogs.

More than fifty years later,the first successful blood transfusion of human blood was performed in 1818 by Dr. James Blundell to treat postpartum hemorrhage. Blood types were not discovered for another 82 years, but once they were, doctors began developing blood typing and cross matching between donors and patients to improve the safety of transfusions. The universality of the O blood group was identified in 1907.  Later discoveries, including sodium citrate for use as an anticoagulant, the Rh blood group, and plastic implements for collection and storage of blood greatly improved the thirty day survival rate of patients post transfusion.

1838 First Corneal Transplant

This was actually the first successful human organ transplant.  Corneal transplantation, also known as keratoplasty, is the only therapeutic procedure for many disorders of the cornea that can lead to blindness. It can also benefit patients with infection, pain or perforation of the cornea.  In fact, in 1838 the first corneal transplant in a human was performed using a cornea from a pig was grafted into a human recipient. It remained transparent for a couple of weeks. Richard Kissam reported this years before the invention of anaesthesia!  

In successive years, more partial thickness transplants were performed.  The first “full-thickness” corneal transplant in a human being happened in 1906.  This is the transplant that paved the way for the growth of the procedure and the opening of eye banks in different countries to perform them. As immunosuppression medications improved, failure rate for corneal transplantation has lowered, with approximately twenty-five percent of corneas being lost by four to five years post transplant.

1954 First Successful Human Kidney Transplant

The first documented successful kidney transplants were experiments performed on animals in 1902 at the Vienna Medical School in Austria.  Then, in 1933 the first human-to-human kidney transplant was performed, but the donor kidney never functioned because doctors were unaware that mismatches in donor and recipient blood groups were problematic in the procedure.  Indeed, what made the 1954 transplant successful was that it the donor and recipient were identical twins. It was performed by a team headed by Joseph E. Murray at Peter Bent Brigham Hospital in Boston, Massachusetts. Because their organs were indistinguishable to each other’s immune systems, no immunosuppressive medication was necessary.

While advances in kidney transplantation were happening, there were other developments being perfected that helped keep renal failure patients alive.  Kidney dialysis was keeping patients alive by using an artificial kidney to purify human blood, which is what normal functioning kidneys do every day. Nonetheless, surgeons charged ahead, developing a surgical procedure that would not only place a new kidney in the patient, but connect all the necessary tubes and blood vessels, and improving immunosuppression upon accurately understanding why our bodies fight off foreign organs.

1956 The First Successful Bone Marrow Transplant

In the early nineteen hundreds, doctors made the first ever attempt to treat patients with a donor’s bone marrow. However, this treatment was unsuccessful, as the bone marrow was given by mouth. The first successful transplant was again between  identical twins. It was performed by Dr E Donnall Thomas in New York. The patient, who had leukaemia, first had radiotherapy and then was given the healthy bone marrow.

Two years later, in November 1958, French oncologist and immunologist Dr. Georges Mathé performs a human bone marrow transplant using bone marrow from donors who were not related to their recipients.  The six patients were Yugoslav engineers who were irradiated at different levels after a nuclear reactor incident. Later, researchers discover bone marrow contains at least two kinds of stem cells – blood or haematopoietic stem cells ( these form all the types of blood cells in the body) and stromal stem cells(these form bone, cartilage, fat and connective tissue).

1963 First Lung Transplant

Up until Dr. James Hardy performed the first human lung transplant in 1963, Dr. Hardy and his team had performed about four hundred transplant experiments on dogs at their Jackson, Mississippi.  Repeatedly, although the transplanted lungs seemed to function reasonably well early after transplantation, the dogs ultimately rejected the lungs within a month despite various immunosuppressants available at the time.

The transplant recipient was a 58-year old man who had lung cancer involving the left main airway and obstructing distal airways resulting in lung collapse and recurrent pneumonia.  He was a prison inmate, serving a life sentence. Nonetheless, Dr. Hardy treated his patient with dignity, carefully outlining the potential complications and risks with him in detail.  He agreed to proceed. The donor had been brought to the emergency department because of a massive heart attack resulting in heart failure and shock, and once he passed away, the family consented to the donation. Over the next ten years only 36 lung transplants were performed worldwide and the majority of recipients died within a few days. In 1983, the Toronto Lung Transplant Group performed the first successful lung transplant.  The recipient was another 58-year old man, this one suffering from pulmonary fibrosis. When the group reported their experience in 1986, he was alive and leading a normal lifestyle. This success was remarkably encouraging for pulmonary physicians and patients with lung disease.

1966 First Successful Pancreas Transplant

In December 1966, more than 50 years ago, doctors at the University of Minnesota pioneered the first-ever pancreas transplant. The procedure was performed by surgeons Richard Lillehei and William Kelly. Since then, more than 50,000 pancreas transplants have been performed worldwide, and roughly 30,000 in the United States alone.  University of Minnesota holds the worldwide record, with an impressive 2,300 and counting.

As late as the nineteen nineties, one out of every six type 1 diabetics would not live to see their fortieth birthday. That mortality rate increased if a patient suffered kidney failure, a common complication of type 1 diabetes. Pancreas and kidney transplantation offered a solution.  With improved surgical techniques, new immunosuppressive medications that decreased the chance transplant rejection and more effective antibiotics, success rates greatly improved. One University of Minnesota physician is quoted as saying “Transplantation of a kidney and a pancreas not only improves a patient’s quality of life—making that person insulin and dialysis free—it also has been shown to extend life”.  Modern medicine: one, Premature death: nil!

1967 First Successful Liver Transplant

It was Thomas E. Starzl, M.D., Ph.D., FAAP (Hon.) who performed this groundbreaking surgery.  He lived to be 90 years old and passed away in 2017. He conducted the procedure at University of Colorado  in Denver, where he was serving as professor and chair of surgery. He is also credited with performing the first successful pediatric liver transplant. Starzl attempted the first human  liver transplant in 1963, but a successful liver transplant was not achieved until 1967. In 1970 survival rates were dismal—approximately fifteen percent at the one-year follow-up. The discovery of the immunosuppressive drug cyclosporine in the early 1980s led to improvements in rejection rates, and soon liver transplantation became a more viable treatment.

Living liver donation is possible because of the liver’s remarkable capacity to regenerate.  It only takes about one week to regenerate back to it’s full size after a portion of it has been removed.  Also, when transplanted, the liver can regenerate to suit the size of its new host. In the few cases where baboon livers have been transplanted into people, they quickly grow to the size of a human liver.

1988 First Successful Intestinal Transplant

Although experiments were being conducted in the early 20th century, intestinal transplantation has only recently become a viable clinical procedure. As the largest lymphoid organ in the body and host to a multitude of foreign antigens, the small bowel has presented a challenge throughout the history of organ transplants. In 1902, French Nobel laureate Alexis Carrel performs experiments in which intestinal segments are implanted in the necks of dogs.  Man’s best friend comes through yet again!

In the 1960s Initial attempts at intestinal transplantation are suspended due to poor graft and patient survival. Of eight human intestinal recipients recorded during this period, none survived; this was due to ineffective immunosuppressive drugs.  Patients transplanted in Kiel, Germany in 1988 and in Paris, France in 1989 became the first long-term survivors with sufficient graft function. Also in 1988, in London, Ontario the first successful combined liver-intestinal graft was performed. The recipient lived several years after.

1999 First Successful Hand Transplant Performed in the United States

Surgeons in Louisville, Kentucky, performed the first successful hand transplant in the United States.  The surgery replaced the left hand of a New Jersey man with one taken from an unidentified donor who had died a few hours earlier.  The 15-hour operation was performed at Louisville Jewish Hospital. The first hand transplant was carried out in Ecuador in 1964. It failed after two weeks when the recipient’s body rejected the donor hand. At the time only crude anti-rejection therapy was available.

As of 2017, there have been approximately 100 hands transplanted on more than 60 patients around the world. A hand transplant, unlike a solid organ transplant, involves multiple tissues (skin, muscle, tendon, bone, cartilage, fat, nerves and blood vessels) and is called vascularized composite allotransplantation, or VCA..

2010 First Successful Full Face Transplant

At Barcelona’s Vall d’Hebron hospital, a 31-year-old man received the world’s first successful full face transplant in March 2010.  During the 24-hour surgery, a team of 30 surgeons lifted an entire face, including jaw, nose, cheekbones, muscles, teeth and eyelids, and placed it mask-like on to the man.  The transplant was necessary after the man accidentally shot himself in the face in 2005. Four months after the surgery, the patient spoke at a press conference. Beforehand, he had been unable to breathe or eat on his own. By the time of the press conference, he was able to drink liquids and eat soft foods

The first partial face transplant, was carried out in France in 2005.


Blood Transfusion:

Link 2:

Link 3:

Bone Marrow:

Lung Transplant:

Pancreas Transplant:

Liver Transplant:,,

Intestinal Transplant:,

Hand Transplant:,

Full Face Transplant:




activism, Giving, Organ Donation

Unleashing My Inner Hero #DonorDay2018

Live On NY is holding it’s 4th annual Organ Donor Enrollment Day.  the theme is Unleash Your Inner Hero.  Indeed, I am unleashing my inner hero, although with a great deal of humility and a commitment to improving other people’s lives who have a need greater than any that I have.  inner hero.png

I found a great spot, too!  Berkeley Drugs on the corner of Kings Highway and Flatbush Avenue in Brooklyn has been a mainstay in the community I grew up in.  As a kid, I used to go there, sometimes with my grandma to pick up prescriptions.  I bought holiday and birthday cards there for my loved ones with my saved up money.  When I played sports in high school I went there for Ace bandages and ice packs, and at age sixteen, in an exasperated attempt to do away with excess fat for once and for all, I bought weight loss shake mix there.


Having a chance to actually go back to my community to do some good work – raise awareness about organ donation and get people signed up to help close the gap – is exciting!  I plan to also go to my elementary school to visit and bring sign up forms and a poster so faculty and staff there can get on the list as well.  If you cannot come in person, click here to sign up online as a donor.

Please reach out to volunteer, a few hours or all day, or to support in any other way.  If you’d like to help out with some money, you can fund my PayPal at

Also please share this article with your networks and Support our Event on Facebook.

Use and follow #DonorDay2018

activism, food, Organ Donation

Organ Donors: Real Superheros?

Are Organ Donors real superheros?  It certainly doesn’t feel like it…

I know I helped someone in a major way.  Nonetheless, I’m not immortal, I have no superpowers (well, except making milk for my babies, but that had nothing to do with giving an organ) and I only directly impacted one person’s life.

Real superheros save entire cities from peril… 

I want to do more.  So I’m using the only other superpowers I can boast:

  • Powerful writing to inspire all who read
  • Invincible collaborating skills
  • A disarming smile

to bring together a league of incredible super donors.  Together we will uphold truth, justice and giving of oneself.

Join me today in The 2018 LiveOnNy Donor Enrollment Drive

WE really can save lives, though: one more willing donor on the donor list means one less neighbor dying on the recipient list.

Let this video convince you, then scroll down and fill in the sign up form.  You can be on Team Really Nourish even if you’ve never donated an organ.

We’re not the only real superheros… 

©2018 Rashida V. Serrant-Davis, The Really Nourish Movement. All Rights Reserved. 

Really Nourish™, The Really Nourish Movement™ and Food Life Evolution™ are Trademarks of Rashida V. Serrant-Davis.  All Rights Reserved. 

Organ Donation, Weight Loss

New Kindle Unlimited Book #DonorLife

He’s in Dominica.  That was the goal.  He could have been stuck in New York City, there doing nothing but counting hours between dialysis treatments.  He’s in Dominica, talking about flying over to England for a while before visiting New York, free to travel in his senior years and live in his beautiful house on our family estate.

In honor of my dad’s 2 post surgery birthday, I’m re-releasing the book #DonorLife, because I just need to share my story with you.  You can now download it on Kindle or Kindle Unlimited.  I’m giving it out for free on August 19, 2018.  In return, please write me a review and share it with your networks.

God bless you!

blood pressure, health, Healthy, Organ Donation, Pregnancy

Accountability: My Numbers – Pregnant, Vegan, Low Sugar, Kidney Donor, African-American Woman over 40… Curious?

Hello family, I wanted to do this as sort of a follow up to my Brown Sugar post.  This is my accountability post.  If I am talking so much about food and health, I should be practicing it in my own life, right?  Well then, because you are reader and a member of this movement, I want you to have the details.  I decided I’m going to do a post like this every year.

First, though, I want to share a bit about my family medical history.  The thing is, you need to know, that if I’m saying all of this stuff about food and health, that I’m practicing it and it is working for real.

Grandma aka Mere Vé Vé

My maternal grandmother, Veronique, came to the US when I was 4 years old.  She was known as a rather strong woman.  They say that even during the year before she made her way to the US, Mere Vé Vé could be seen carrying heavy loads of harvested vegetables and ground provisions (root vegetables) in buckets from her garden to her home.  In her village, Pointe Michel, Dominica, people’s gardens were not adjacent to their homes.  So picture her treading uphill to a garden plot (at least 5-6 city blocks?  1/4 mile or so?) away from home to carry back food.  She was 58 years old, with no history of any medical problems.  Then she came to 1980’s America.

Within 9 years, she had been diagnosed with diabetes and high blood pressure and she had gone blind from glaucoma.  I can remember her as a fiery lady, always with a joke ready.  She loved to laugh and she loved to dance to songs by The Mighty Sparrow.  I can also remember her sitting on the couch in the living room injecting insulin into her thigh.  By the time I was 13, she passed away.

Uncle Fitzroy

Not long after, there was a scare.  My Uncle Fitzroy – my mother’s younger brother, who arrived a year after my grandma in the US and lived with us through much of my childhood – was rushed to the hospital one night.  The emergency, I later learned, was caused by diabetes.  He was diagnosed in his early 30s.  This gave everyone in my family pause.  Even I, in my early teens, was disturbed by this.

When he arrived in the US at age 23, he was slim, just like all the other recent male Caribbean immigrants of that era with very few exceptions.  He taught me how to play soccer and he also loved to make jokes. In my memory, this was so strange, because I remembered my grandmother and I knew other elderly people were diabetic, but Uncle Fitzroy was still, from my perspective, pretty young.  How could he get this disease already?  Indeed, we all noticed he did start getting kind of fat as time went by, but in those days we had come to expect people to put on extra weight as they got older, like it was just inevitable.  Now I know how wrong we all were!


Check In: My Numbers
Mommy, on the left, before I was born, in St Thomas with her best friend sometime in the late 1960’s

My mother was more than likely suffering from some degree of insulin resistance herself, but was never diagnosed.  Now knowing what I know, this hypothesis is because she struggled mightily but unsuccessfully to take off the extra pounds she carried for most of her 40’s.  She tried exercising and did her best to walk a lot and stay active.  She was not into snacks – that was not a real issue for her generation.  But she ate the SAD – the Standard American Diet – for the most part, thinking that there was nothing particularly unhealthy about it.  We all believed that lie.  She was anemic, but there were no other diagnoses, until she was diagnosed with cancer in her lung (she was NOT a smoker, btw) at age 55.  She died the next year.

Why Look Back?

The point of sharing my family’s medical history with you is this: it doesn’t reflect anything that I have going on in my life at the moment.  When I first visited Mount Sinai with the intention of donating a kidney to my father (1), my blood pressure was borderline high and there was talk of potential pre-diabetes.  Yes, and I was 212 lbs, and for my height, that is obese at a Body Mass Index of slightly over 35.  I like the Smart Body Mass Index calculator for a good contextual interpretation of BMI results.

So, without further ado, here are my numbers as of December 6, 2017:

Kidney Donation: March 10, 2016.  Labs from Mount Sinai done in July 11, 2017 show that my one remaining kidney is stable.

Current Condition: 30 Weeks Pregnant (that’s about 7 1/2 months), Age 41

Blood work Results: Slightly anemic, now taking iron supplement more diligently.  Still in prayer for a food-based way to deal with that so I can wean off the supplement.  Please agree with me in prayer for that!  Cholesterol and all other readings were normal.

Blood Pressure: 99/59 – Anything below 120/80 is considered normal.  If your reading is consistently higher than this, you may have High Blood Pressure.  My reading is consistently at or below this level.

Blood Sugar: 83 mg/dL – If your doctor sees anything over 100, the may want to test your fasting and postprandial (after meal) blood sugar a few more times in the near future to see if you are running those numbers consistently.  This is how they determine whether to diagnose you with Diabetes.

Weight: 177 lbs, up from a pre-pregancy weight of 155.  There doesn’t appear to be a method to check BMI during pregnancy, but my pre-pregnancy BMI was just under 26 which, according to the Smart Body Mass Index calculator, is a healthy weight that does not implicate the probably of any health problems developing.

Note that my weight this far into the 3rd trimester is still far less than my weight was before Really Nourish.  In other words, at almost 8 months pregnant, I’m still lighter than I was then, and I was not pregnant then!  

How’s that for an African-American woman?  

In Case You Were Thinking It…

One last thing – it isn’t because I moved out of America that I am able to maintain the healthy lifestyle that produces these great results.  As of January 2017, Trinidad and Tobago is one of the top 3 obese countries in Latin America according to the Pan American Health Organization.  Here, 31% of the population is obese and 50% is at least overweight.  We’re also running about a 10% diabetes rate here, and a recent article in a local newspaper reported that heart disease has now overtaken crime as the number one killer of Trinidadians.  So, no, the lifestyle here does NOT lend itself to better health.  Fast food and junk food are as ubiquitous here as they are states-side.  I have to make the same deliberate, concerted effort to keep my food life on track as I did back in New York.

Nonetheless, my Really Nourish tribe, I wanted you to know that I am indeed dedicated.  I will keep it going, and you can consider me a source of support and information.  In fact, for this to really keep going, its important that the tribe grows.

Click here to see how YOU can get involved.

So there’s my evidence, family.  Thank you for motivating me.


(1) I did not include my dad’s medical history because he’s not my blood relative.  He’s actually my stepfather.  Having said that, his medical history is a bit more relevant than some would make it, because when looking into medical history for lifestyle diseases, we should really shift our thinking from bloodlines to social settings.  This suggestion is based on the information from The China Study by T. Colin Campbell, Ph.D, which explains that

  1. Genetics only account for 2-3% of a person’s predisposition towards the diseases in this category,
  2. The other 97-98% of predisposition comes from environmental factors, of which diet is one, and
  3. Dietary changes can turn genes on and off.

Therefore, it is not who is related to me by blood, but who I ate with throughout my childhood, that truly would have set the patterns leading toward lifestyle diseases.  Therefore: My dad was diagnosed with hypertension in 1982, and although he experienced swelling in his feet sometime in the 1990’s, he never followed up on this with a doctor.  Indeed, he could have been suffering from renal disease since then.  He had a heart attack at age 62 or so, and then both his kidneys failed (end stage renal disease) at age 68.  He married my mom when I was 10, so he’s my dad, with whom I was socialized, including breakfast, lunch and dinner, throughout the remainder of my childhood.

activism, food, God's word, Organ Donation, scripture, Weight Loss

Securing Our Birthright: Webinar

In case you missed the Webinar:

Securing Our Birthright – 8 Steps to Revolutionize Your Food Life and Change The World

Here it is.  You can pause as you go and take notes, and please feel free to post questions in the comments section below as you wish.  Also, I’d love your feedback.  Thanks for watching!


Click This Link to Pre-Order The Book and get your great free offers while you wait!

Join the Mailing List so you don’t miss the next webinar!

Securing Our Birthright: Webinar
Forthcoming Book: Securing Our Birthright: Clean, Healthy Food for All People as Ordained by God




Books, food, health, Healthy, Organ Donation, sugar, vegan, Weight Loss

#DonorLife: A Kidney Donation that Started a Movement

Wow!  Just finished and self published my very first book!  I have numerous partial manuscripts from my very eventful and unusual life.  Also, I call myself a writer… Hmmmm.  My approach this time was different, though.  I decided this go ’round to aim for a shorter time frame (of my life) and be content with a short number of pages, because y’all have a short attention span these days!!!


Anyway, it is done, and it is beautiful!!  It is the story of my experience donating my left kidney to my dad and how, through the evaluation process, I discovered my own health challenges.  This is the story of the birth of The Really Nourish Movement.  It is a story I have attempted to tell verbally on numerous occasions, but on those occasions, I never felt satisfied that I did the story justice.  Now, you can read it and get a better picture of the birth and incubation of what this thing is all about.  More great content to come.  Thanks in advance for checking it out!

Please click here to access #DonorLife


Thank you and be blessed!