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Long Branch Dad Saves a Life

(Ken, Denise, and his now-teenage son Ryan)
(Ken, Denise, and his now-teenage son Ryan)

After Ken Burke survived a life-threatening medical problem, he decided to save someone else’s life. But the story doesn’t end there. This is an inspiring story of paying it forward.

Ken Burke says that he believes his surgeon, Dr. Roy Dressner, changed the direction of many people’s lives the day they met. Ken describes what he has been through as the greatest journey he could ever have taken, and that the joy he gets will last him for the rest of his life.

The journey Ken refers to began several years ago, when Ken was suddenly struck by intestinal pain so severe that it knocked him to the flood. He actually felt like he had been stabbed in the abdomen. He was rushed to the Emergency Department at Monmouth Medical Center (part of Robert Wood Johnson Barnabas Health System.).

After undergoing a scan, Ken was quickly admitted to the hospital. His intestine suddenly ruptured. Dr. Dressner immediately called for emergency surgery. “With this life-threatening condition, patients can get septic quickly and go into multi-organ failure,” says Dr. Dressner.

Dr. Dressner
Dr. Dressner

Ken, fortunately, was able to be healed thanks to the work of Dr. Dressner. Ken says he thanked God, because he had a 4-year old son at home at the time and he was grateful to have survived to be with his family.

Ken describes Dr. Dressner as the kindest, most caring doctor he had ever met, and says the entire hospital staff was “just the best in the world.”

Ken, in all his gratitude, then started thinking that he wanted to help save someone else’s life. That thought would not leave his mind. So he began actively pursuing his dream, with the support of his wife Denise and son Ryan.

Last year, a recipient was identified and Ken’s donation surgery took place. He was told that his kidney went to a Rochester, NY, man — the father of three young girls.

Ken said he was in tears to have been able to save a father’s life. He then experienced even more tremendous joy when he learned that the recipient’s wife was so inspired by her husband’s life being saved that SHE then decided to help another family by donating one of HER kidneys!

Ken still marvels that his brush with death has led to so much life. He emphasizes that one person can save a whole family and he is humbled to know that somewhere, someone has a new kidney because he chose to donate.

Would you consider becoming a living donor? CLICK HERE for more info.

To read another inspiring story about a Wall teen whose organ donation saved many lives, CLICK HERE.

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