Kim Hill has goals. Running goals. Running goals like running a half marathon in every state and every county in Wisconsin. Kim’s goals, or even running at all, would not be possible without her donor’s decision to donate his or her organs and tissue.

In 2016 Kim fell while running and injured her knee. At first the injury didn’t seem that serious, but over time her knee pain kept getting worse until she couldn’t run at all. What was initially diagnosed as a meniscus tear, turned out to be damage to the cartilage on the back of Kim’s kneecap. The solution was Osteochondral Allograft Transplant Surgery, or OATS, where donor cartilage is transplanted into the damaged cartilage area to allow the damaged area to heal and regrow.

Kim’s surgery was in January of 2019 at Aurora Sinai Hospital in Milwaukee. After more than 10 months of rehab, she started running again in November of 2019. At first running was painful, and Kim had to retrain her muscles on how to run, but by February she was up to 20 miles a week. In September of 2020 she ran her first post-transplant half marathon and broke two hours. Since her transplant, Kim has run 11 half marathons with a post-transplant personal best only 30 seconds slower than her pre-transplant record!

When making the decision to sign up for the donor registry, oftentimes the focus is on the donation of organs and the lives that can be saved. But it is important to remember that the donation of tissue can have a huge impact as well. One tissue donor can heal the lives of more than 75 people. As Kim says, “I’m so grateful to my donor and their family that I can run again. It means so much that they gave me this part of who I am back to me.”