- Donor Search Champion for Herself
- Donor Search Expert Coach
- Kidney Recipient
Learning that you need a kidney to live can be overwhelming. Leesa works with kidney patients showing them the way to a living kidney transplant by making the experience empowering, instead of discouraging, just as her Earth Angel did for her.
Since her kidney transplant four years ago, Leesa has been paying it forward by helping patients with failing kidneys to find a living kidney donor, thereby helping them to live a more normal life.
Leesa’s journey started with a diagnosis of chronic kidney failure, which left her bewildered and in search of a lifeline. She found help when a friend contacted his colleague who had recently received a kidney transplant. That colleague suggested writing a compelling story about her life and the positive impact her contributions have made to the environment and children with speaking difficulties. Leesa’s story was posted to Facebook in a concerted effort to get her message out—that she had much more work to do for the benefit of others and that she needed a kidney to live.
Her story went viral and attracted more than 32,000 views in merely six weeks. Eventually, her need for a living kidney donor came to the attention of a friend whose kidney was not a match but who agreed to become a swap donor for Leesa. Then, through the National Kidney Registry’s kidney matching program, she received a matching kidney from a non-directed donor across the country whose goal was to donate her kidney to start a chain of kidney transplants to help as many people as possible.
Leesa earned a B.A. in Psychology and a B.S. in Speech and Hearing Sciences with honors from Boston University. She also holds an M.A. in Speech Pathology with honors from Ohio State University. For more than 40 years, Leesa practiced as a Speech/Language Pathologist, primarily with early intervention and preschoolers.
Leesa enjoys writing and loves public speaking through Toastmasters. She is a lifelong environmental activist and participates in several political action groups focused on cleaning up our planet. Sailing and improvisational theatre are high on the list of things she likes to do.
Ms. Thompson has two adult children; one is an actor, and the other a chiropractor.