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NTAF Community Hero: Diana Martin


NTAF Community Hero Submission from Lorri Schwartz
Edited and adapted by Shannon McMonagle, NTAF E-News Editor.

Diana Martin certainly is a community hero in every respect. I am not sure how anyone could demonstrate more community spirit and love for others on this Earth. She is an extraordinary individual in her beliefs, purpose, character and actions.

The gift of life
In March 2008, Diana was tested, type and cross-matched to be considered for live kidney donation for our mutual friend Janet Marsceau, who had polycystic kidney disease. Not only did Diana volunteer for this surgical procedure, she was honored to do so and hoped that she would be the one chosen. After undergoing evaluation testing, Diana considered donating a kidney to anyone who needed it, if she was not found to be a close enough match for Janet – but she was. On May 28, 2008, Diana gave Janet the gift of life (a kidney), and a life of freedom from dialysis. Diana has given Janet a second chance at life - with a better quality of life. Janet can now continue her life’s mission with her family, church family and friends. Read Janet’s story.

Spreading the word
Today, Diana advocates for living donors. Only a little more than four months after donating a kidney, Diana was out running to get the word out that there are others who await live donations (See waiting list). "It's simply like being a blood donor,” says Diana. “If you know there's a need, you just do it!"

Diana participated in the Baltimore Running Festival on Saturday, October 11, 2008, crossing the very path where her kidney donation took place at the University of Maryland Medical Center.

Diana trained for the half-marathon through hills and valleys, rain and heat, with her dog by her side, to raise awareness about the importance of organ donation and to help Janet with the life-long costs of anti-rejection medications (which can cost anywhere between $1,000-$5,000 per month and are not fully covered by government programs or private insurance).

Making a difference elsewhere
Diana Martin and her family are a real example of the “right stuff”. The Martin family has three biological and five adopted children, each unique individuals who collectively care for one another. The Martins have hosted many foster children in their home throughout the years. In fact, they were honored with the award of Maryland Foster Family of the Year in 2003, and as a result, had the opportunity to meet former President George W. Bush as he signed the Adoption Promotion Act of 2003.
With the support of her family, Diana has made a large impact in the lives of the children that she has rescued from abusive and neglectful situations. She provides a loving and safe environment for these children in her home as a foster mother, and is actively involved in her county’s foster program.

Diana is also active in her local church. She leads the nursery ministry for approximately 50 children each Sunday, and is involved with Serving Sisters, a program through her church that delivers meals to individuals in need.