Wade Washington

Wade Washington was just 15 years old when he got a phone call that changed his life: He was going to receive a kidney transplant. At birth, Washington was diagnosed with bilateral cystic kidney disease, a genetic disorder that caused one kidney not to function properly and prevented the other one from growing.

“When I was younger, I wasn’t in as critical of a state as when I began dialysis,” says Washington, a member of the inaugural cohort of the University of Washington Brotherhood Initiative, which is dedicated to empowering undergraduate males of color to thrive on campus and graduate prepared for a lifetime of leadership, service and success.

Despite facing symptoms like extreme fatigue and gout, he played football (wearing special kidney-protecting padding) and performed with the Seattle Youth Symphony Orchestra as a cellist. “But as I got into high school,” he says, “that’s when I really felt the effects of kidney disease.”

Now a sophomore at the UW, Washington is thriving — and he’s getting closer to his goal of becoming a transplant surgeon.

Read more about Washington and how he's pursuing his dream to become a transplant surgeon.