BY JASON COHEN
In 2013, President Barack Obama
passed legislation that would allow
HIV-positive donors to give organs to
HIV-positive recipients. A Bronx resident
was recently New York’s fi rst
transplant recipient under the law.
According to the Gift of Life Donor
Program, 60 percent of people currently
on the U.S. transplant waiting
list are people of color, and of those
on the list from the Bronx, the percentage
is even higher at more than
In recognition of National Minority
Donor Awareness Month, Ken Teasley,
54, of Kingsbridge, spoke with
the Bronx Times about the HOPE Act
and how it impacted his life. He’s been
working closely with LiveOnNY — the
offi cial organ procurement organization
for the greater New York region
— to raise awareness on the issue.
Teasley, who was diagnosed with
HIV 29 years ago, spent fi ve years
on the waitlist before he received a
kidney in 2016.
“Originally I didn’t want the transplant,”
he explained. “I thought it
would make me sick.”
Teasley grew up in North Carolina
and moved to the Bronx in 1990
after serving in the military. Shortly
after relocating with his uncle, he
discovered he was HIV positive.
He was working in an animal shelter
and had planned to go to a fouryear
college, but when he found out he
was sick those plans were shelved.
“At that time we all thought there
was just two years for me to live,” he
said. “If I only had two years to live
why would I go to a four-year school?”
Surviving HIV in the 90s was not
easy, he said. The medications were
new and always changing.
Eventually, the disease wore away
at his kidneys and he spent 17 years
on dialysis. Teasley had his left kidney
removed in 2012 and a year later,
Obama passed the HOPE Act, granting
Teasley a second lease on life.
Instead of waiting seven to eight
years, he received one in fi ve because
of the law.
“I had accepted the fact that I was
going to be on dialysis for the rest of
my life,” he recalled.
Teasley had always been a fi ghter.
At two days old, he had a blood transfusion
and in college he underwent a
major surgery on his testes.
But his friends, his parents Mamie
and Ken and his partner Albert have
always been there for him.
“I have a good support system,”
he stated. “I talk regularly with
Unfortunately, his kidney is now
at 20 percent, so last month he evaluated
for a new one and is back on
the transplant list. Even amongst all
these challenges he has always kept a
positive attitude and maintained his
He speaks often about his story to
news outlets and hospitals and gets
emotional no matter who he talks to.
Teasley wants more people to take
advantage of the HOPE Act.
“This transplant saved my life,”
he said. “I did not expect to be standing
here today, but thanks to my
donor, I am.”
Ken Teasley, 54, of Kingsbridge, spoke with the Bronx Times about the HOPE Act and how it
impacted his life Photos courtesy of LiveOnNY
BRONX TIMES REPORTER,4 SEPTEMBER 4-10, 2020 BTR
NYPD found the body of a young transgender woman Photo by Alex Mitchell
Mail: Bronx Times
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BY ALEX MITCHELL AND
A 23-year-old woman was found
dead in the sand of Orchard Beach
on Aug. 31, police reported.
The body of a young transgender
woman, who lived in upper Manhattan
at 306 W. 139th St. was discovered
by NYPD offi cers just after 6
a.m. this morning near the shore of
the Long Island Sound.
Reports have said the victim’s
identity has not yet been released.
Senator Alessandra Biaggi
posted a message of condolences
to her family in wake of Monday’s
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“I extend my deepest condolences
to her family and loved ones in the
wake of this terrible loss. This is an
ongoing investigation and the cause
of death has yet to be determined.
May she rest in peace,” Biaggi
said on Twitter.
Her cause of death has not yet
been determined by a medical examiner’s
report nor have the surrounding
circumstances at this time.
Police sources said that she was
not observed to have visible trauma
to the body upon discovery.
This is a developing story.
A little ‘HOPE’
HOPE Act gives Bronx man new lease on life
NYPD fi nds dead
body at beach
Person identifi ed as trangender woman