BOARD OF DIRECTORS

President: Abby Ruiz

Abby Ruiz was diagnosed with kidney failure with an unknown cause in 2004 and has since devoted a portion  of her life to advocating for patients and educating the community about End Stage Renal Disease and transplantation. She currently serves as a (certified Community Health Worker) Patient Representative and Advocate in Austin, TX and is President and founder of the Austin Chapter of the Transplant Recipients International Organization (TRIO). She is also a Board member on the Texas Renal Coalition (TRC), a member of the Patient Advisory Committee for the St. David’s North Austin Medical Center Transplant Program, a member of the End Stage Renal Disease Network 14 Patient Advisory Committee (PAC) and the National Patient and Family Engagement-Learning and Action Network (NPFE-LAN), a subject matter expert for the Kidney Community Emergency Response Program (KCER), member of the American Association of Kidney Patients (AAKP), an advocate for the National Kidney Foundation Region 7 (NKF), an advisory member for the Texas ESRD Emergency Coalition (TEEC), a Member at Large for the Organ Procurement and Transplant Network 4 (OPTN) International Relations Committee,  initiated and aided in launching the first patient voter registration campaign in the Austin area and is heavily involved in state and national legislation that affects the renal community. Currently she is aiding in COVID vaccination education and promoting equity in organ transplantation. She has received two kidney transplants.

Vice-President: Destiny Olson

Destiny Olson is new to the world of transplant advocacy. Donating a kidney to her son’s speech and debate coach in March of 2021, Destiny was ushered into an awareness of this community’s needs. Post-surgery, she sat in on St. David’s Patient Advisory Committee meetings for several months, providing feedback on the transplant process before meeting the team that would become TRIO’s board. Destiny’s new found passion is to spread awareness that living donations shouldn’t primarily be reserved for the family and close friend’s of one in need. She advocates for ‘sharing your spare’ if you’re able. We’re all born with the ability to save someone’s life. Destiny poses the question, “Why waste it?”  She’s pictured here with her recipient, and now dear friend, Suchinder Kalyan. ​

Treasurer: Walter Goff

Hi, I am Walter Goff. My story starts when I was about 13 years old, and doctors noticed some slightly abnormal urinalysis and blood work. They could not figure out what it was and as I grew into my late teens my blood pressure also became slightly strange. It was out of the ordinary as I was really into sports.
By the time I had reached 18, I had all sorts of sports from Cricket to Baseball and Football to Rugby. Heck, I even played rugby in college. My goal in college was not only to graduate with a degree but also join the Air Force. However, by the time I had reached 20 my blood pressure and lab tests became noticeable to the Air Force. At that time, they did not know what it was. But they did know that based on those findings, I would not be allowed into the armed forces. As I got older, I went on blood pressure medications and had to watch my sodium intake. It was not until I was in my early 50’s, after a new round of blood work. to test for seemingly everything, I was diagnosed with IGA – Nephropathy (IGAN; sometimes referred to as Berger’s disease). By that time other issues were arising, and more medical tests were run. In short, it was discovered that my kidneys were 75% scarred and kidney function was now at 18%. It seemed like each year after 52 my kidney function dropped. When it hit 15% it was time to face the fact that I would need to go on to dialysis or find a donor. When I hit 12%, I broke the news to my family. After telling them I was going to be on dialysis and be placed on the list for a donor my daughter volunteered. Over my objections she proceeded to get tested and found to be a very good match. Now, several years later, I am so glad to still be here to see my twin grandchildren from my daughter. What a glorious gift to “Share Your Spare” and see what the future holds.

Secretary: Kathy Robinson

Kathy Robinson was diagnosed with IgA nephropathy which caused kidney failure in October of 2018. After being referred to the Kidney Transplant Center at St. David’s North Austin Medical Center, the search for a donor kidney began.  The first person tested was her son, Anthony, and he was immediately identified as a donor. On April 2, 2021 (just six months after being diagnosed), Kathy received a kidney from her son and has been living with no issues since that time.  Her son, Anthony, has also gone on to live a healthy lifestyle.  Kathy is a new participant and volunteer with the Patient Advisory Committee for the St. David’s North Austin Medical Center Transplant Program.  Her desire is to be an advocate for kidney recipients and donors.  She wants to empower and educate others on the importance of becoming a living donor. 
Kathy is happy to serve as a member of the TRIO Board.