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Kidney Recipient Dylan Contreras Cherishes New Lease on Life

Dylan Contreras likes to say he has two birthdays. One is the day he was born. The second is the day he received his life-saving kidney transplant.

A young man poses for a photo with an iPhone in his hands.
Dylan Contreras

Dylan Contreras likes to say he has two birthdays. One is the day he was born. The second is the day he received his life-saving kidney transplant.

Dylan was on dialysis for three years, undergoing treatment three to four times a week for up to four hours. Needing an escape from the grind of treatments, he turned to photography. It got him out of the house, and it soon became a passion.

Then, Dylan received the kidney that saved his life, thanks to a donor hero and their generous family and the dedicated staff at St. Christopher’s Hospital for Children.

“I now have a second life and a meaningful life that wouldn’t have been achieved if not for that kidney,” Dylan says.

Dylan has his own photography business, DC Productions, and the self-taught photographer attends the Community College of Philadelphia. He plans to matriculate to the University of Arts and pursue a photography degree.

A photo of the restaurant Geno's Steaks in Philadelphia lit up at night.
A photo taken by kidney recipient, and photographer, Dylan Contreras of Geno’s Steaks in Philadelphia.
A young man stands in front of a picture hung on the wall.
Dylan Contreras’ photos adorn the walls of the St. Christopher’s bereavement room.

St. Christopher’s opened a new room in April 2023 for families who are facing loss and considering the possibility of organ donation, and Dylan’s photos adorn the walls.

“I feel like that room can save a lot of lives,” Dylan says. “I’m very fortunate to be a part of that because the only reason I’m able to do all those things is because somebody said, ‘Hey I’m going to sign up today to become an organ donor.’”

Dylan is thankful for everyone who has helped him on this journey from his mother, “my role model,” and the rest of his family to the dialysis nurses and doctors who pushed him to further his education.

Two photos hang on the wall between a plaque commemorating the photographer.
Dylan Contreras provided the photos that adorn the St. Christopher’s bereavement room for families considering donation.

Now, the college student aims to inspire other transplant recipients to find their passions as he continues to honor his donor hero. He emphasizes the importance of organ donation and the impact a single donor can make.

One organ donor can save up to eight lives and a tissue donor can heal about 100.

“I hope to get other people to register as a donor,” Dylan said. “I just wanted to help people out. One of the best ways I can think of is in a creative way. Everyone likes arts. If that’s the best way I can show my support, then that’s what I will do.”

Help give people like Dylan a second chance at life. Register to become an organ donor today at www.donors1.org/register

A young man takes photos with his cellphone of artwork hanging on the wall of a room.
Dylan Contreras provided the photographs for the St. Christopher’s bereavement room for families considering donation.