A community gift

New endowed fund honors patient and advances kidney research and preservation at OHSU

October 23, 2015

When the Reynolds family first moved to Portland over 20 years ago, they didn't realize their new home was located in such close proximity to OHSU. They also would have no way of knowing what an important role the hospital would play in their lives.

Stephen Reynolds, former CEO of Pacific Gas Transmission, was a member of the OHSU Foundation Board of Directors during the time that OHSU became a public corporation in the mid-1990s. Stephen was able to witness first-hand OHSU's transformation into a world-class teaching and research institution during that time. Stephen and his former wife Sharon have also been heavily involved in the phenomenal care that their son Matthew has received at OHSU over the years. Matthew, hearing-impaired since infancy, has also struggled with ongoing kidney issues for the majority of his life. Partial bilateral blockages in his ureters shut down Matthew's kidneys at 18 months. Since then Matthew has undergone two kidney transplants – the second of which was performed at OHSU. 

Although Stephen now resides in Seattle with his wife, Paula, OHSU has always remained a priority for him. The Reynolds Family Endowed Fund for the Kidney Transplant Program was established by Stephen and Paula to acknowledge and thank the kidney transplant team at OHSU and to further patient care and research in kidney transplantation. The family intends that the proceeds from this fund will ease the burden for families who experience kidney transplants. The gift will benefit the School of Medicine, Department of Surgery, as a legacy to honor Matthew's journey at OHSU.

Matt Reynolds and familyAnd what an incredible journey it has been. Matthew, now 39, is a loving husband and father. He and his wife Shannon, also hearing-impaired, have two sons ages 11 and 13. Matthew received his Master's degree, works as a counselor for the hearing-impaired, and is also an accomplished author. Although Matthew's care has been a team effort, the Reynolds family believes that none of these accomplishments would have been possible without the amazing attention that he received at OHSU.

"With gifts such as these, kidney preservation research and innovation is possible," said John Hunter, M.D., Mackenzie Professor and Chair, Department of Surgery, OHSU School of Medicine. "New methods of pulsatile flow during transport between donor and recipient are improving the function of the donor kidney when newly implanted. Further developments supported with research gifts such as this may decrease or eliminate the early kidney graft dysfunction often seen in newly transplanted kidneys today."

Matthew's path to wellness, however, has not gone without its hardships. He is currently waiting for a third kidney, and the Reynolds family must hold the same patience and perserverance that they have shown throughout Matthew's life.

What does Matthew's care from OHSU mean to the Reynolds family? "I'll tell you what it means," said Sharon. "A wife, two sons, a graduate degree, and a book. Because of the care and the proximity of OHSU, Matthew has received the gifts of community and quality of life."

"We are grateful to have the opportunity to serve patients such as Matthew," expressed the OHSU Abdominal Organ Transplant Team. "The Reynolds family gift will help to provide a platform for creating innovative strategies aimed at improving the lives of all patients with end-stage kidney disease." 

Pictured: Matthew Reynolds (center) with (left to right) his son Evan, mother Sharon, son Jared and wife Shannon