The mission of the NKR is to save and improve the lives of people facing kidney failure by increasing the quality, speed, and number of living donor transplants in the world.
Every incompatible or poorly compatible pair in the world will pass through a common registry finding the recipient a well matched living donor in under six months.
The NKR is a nonprofit organization based out of Long Island, registered under the laws of the State of New York and supported by counselors, volunteers and partners around the world.
Message from the Founder
When Jan and Garet's youngest daughter was 10 years old, her kidneys suddenly failed. After the biopsy they learned that she would never recover her kidney function. They were in shock and quickly learned that a living donor transplant was her best option. Both Jan and their oldest daughter, Brooke, were tested and ruled out as potential donors because they were blood type incompatible.
Garet was blood type compatible, so he was worked up for donation. The transplant surgery was scheduled for a Thursday in the middle of May. That Monday, they received a call from the transplant center letting them know there was a problem and they needed to return to the transplant center and do another cross-match test immediately. They took the additional test and waited. Late Tuesday, 36 hours prior to surgery, they received another call from the transplant center. Garet had failed the cross-match test again. Surgery was canceled. Garet could not donate because their daughter would likely reject Garet's kidney because she had developed a strong antibody against his B60 antigen as a result of a prior blood transfusion.
The following week, an anonymous donor surfaced who, after another trip to the hospital and another cross-match test, was determined to be incompatible and failed the same cross-match test that Garet had failed. In the weeks that followed, all of the uncles that were initially tested failed subsequent cross-match tests. They had gone from seven donors to zero. This was a dark time for the Hil family. In response to this, they worked around the clock to contact and test additional donors.
They also attempted to enter every kidney exchange program in the United States. None of these paired exchange programs were able to find a match for their daughter. Several programs did not return phone calls and some of them wanted to force the Hils to switch to far away hospitals for transplant surgery just to enter these exchange program. In the end, paired exchange proved unsuccessful and after screening over a dozen potential direct donors, they found one who was compatible and could donate – their daughter's 23-year-old cousin. He cleared all the hurdles, was an excellent match, and is an incredible person.
The Hil's daughter received her new kidney on July 12, 2007. Both she and her cousin are doing well. Garet went on to donate his kidney through the NKR's Advanced Donation Program to allow his daughter to receive a second transplant in the unlikely event that she should ever need one. The Hil's primary focus now is helping other families who face the same problem.
The Hil's transplant related challenges are behind them now, but there are thousands of people who face these same challenges every year. As they struggled through the complex and difficult process of finding a compatible donor, it was clear that there was a better way... If all incompatible donors and recipients were simply listed in one common pool and modern computer technology was used to find matches, the problems related to incompatible donors would be a thing of the past. The National Kidney Registry was founded to make this vision a reality.
- Founder and Chief Executive Officer
Garet became involved in transplantation when his daughter was diagnosed with kidney failure at age 10. Both he and his wife, Jan, wanted to donate but they were incompatible. Their daughter received a successful transplant after a difficult and extensive donor search. It was during this challenging period that Garet and Jan committed to solve the problem of incompatible kidney donors by creating a better way to organize living donor transplants and save/improve the lives of thousands of people facing kidney failure. In 2015, Garet donated his kidney through the National Kidney Registry's Advanced Donation Program to kick-off an eight deep chain and provide a Voucher for his daughter to be prioritized for a living donor kidney, should she ever need a second transplant.
Mr. Hil has 30 years of business experience, including serving as Chief Executive Officer for both public and private companies. In addition to leading the National Kidney Registry, he is the Founder & Chief Executive Officer of Hil & Company LLC, a software development and data processing firm. Prior to founding the National Kidney Registry, Mr. Hil held leadership positions in companies from a variety of industries including securities processing, technology, logistics, digital printing, fulfillment, steel distribution and textile manufacturing. He has successfully led 5 startups, 3 turnarounds, 4 acquisitions and 2 divestitures including the successful $1.1 billion sale of the company he started and led for 11 years.
Mr. Hil earned his BS cum laude from the University of Montana in 3 years and his MBA from the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School. He has authored many medical research papers and a book to help patients find donors. Mr. Hil personally organized the largest kidney swap in the world which included 70 participants across 26 hospitals and was named one of Fast Company’s most creative people in business. His work in transplantation was featured on the front page of the Sunday New York Times and has been profiled in numerous national television programs including CBS Evening News , ABC World News & Nightline. Mr. Hil served in the USMC, completing Navy Combat Dive School and Army Airborne training while serving in a Recon unit prior to his honorable discharge in 1985. He lives in Greenwich, Connecticut with his wife and youngest daughter.
- Director of Education & Development
Joe and his family are personally connected to the issues related to Kidney disease through his cousin who is facing kidney failure and in need of a transplant. Joe is a seasoned executive with 15 years of success in business development, relationship management, team management, and operations leadership positions. Prior to joining the National Kidney Registry, Joe held positions with RR Donnelley and Rapid solutions Group where he managed multi million dollar business relationships with prominent Healthcare and Financial services firms. Well versed in technology, Joe influenced the development of groundbreaking document production and distribution solutions that changed the industry and are still in use today. Joe holds an AAS in Business Administration from SUNY Rockland in Suffern New York. Joe is also active in his church where he served as president of an essential parish organization.
- Chief Financial Officer
Tom joined the National Kidney Registry in 2012 as the financial controller. Along with his financial background Tom held careers in commercial real estate and teaching prior to joining the NKR. Tom holds a BA from the Albany School of Business with a concentration in Finance and Management Information Systems, and he also earned a BA in History from Stony Brook University. Tom currently lives in Long Island, NY with his wife and 2 children.
- Director of Research & Technology
Matt serves as the Information technology expert for the National Kidney Registry. Matt has over 10 years of leadership experience working as a software architect/designer, an information technology Manager, and a network engineer. Matt has held positions with Telespectrum Worldwide, Intira, DST Systems, Rapid Solutions Group, Global Document Solutions, and St. Francis Hospital. Matt brings with him experience, technical skills, and management capabilities to support the National Kidney Registry's ever expanding web presence and telecommunications infrastructure. Matt's work with the National Kidney Registry brings him a special joy in knowing that the work being done gives hope to those facing kidney failure. Matt started a chain by donating a kidney in 2016.