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A celebration took place on March 10 to recognize the family of Shirley Gilman, who bequeathed $4.7 million of her estate to the UNC Kidney Center’s Transplant Program.

Mrs. Gilman’s nieces Carmencita Conry and Marisa McLeod came to UNC for a kidney transplant in 1991, which was a success. As a result of their transplant experience, Carmen, as the transplant recipient, and Marisa, as the kidney donor, realized the challenges that patients might face in accessing live donor kidney transplant. At that time, there were few resources and minimal support to help donors and recipients.

During this time, the sisters’ brother Allan passed away, and their Aunt Shirley honored his memory by establishing the Allan Brewster Memorial Fund to support kidney donor expenses. This fund began as a smaller gift which assisted donors and recipients who would otherwise not be able to consider transplant.

When Mrs. Gilman passed away in 2008, she gave $4.7 million of her estate to the Allan Brewster Memorial Fund. Click here to read details about the fund.

Carmen and Marisa visited UNC on Monday, March 9 and Tuesday, March 10, along with Carmen’s daughter Amy and Marisa’s daughter Gaelin. On Monday, Carmen and Marisa recorded a podcast with UNC Transplant Director Dr. Randy Detwiler, in which they spoke about their transplant experience. The podcast is available here.

On Tuesday, the Kidney Center celebrated with a luncheon at the Carolina Club in the Alumni Hall. Dr. Ronald Falk, Director of the Kidney Center, thanked the family and spoke about how the funds will be used to promote kidney transplant and organ donation in North Carolina.

Also speaking were Dr. William Roper, Dean of the School of Medicine, and Gary Park, President of UNC Hospitals.

Brewster Gift
Carmen Conry, Dr. Bill Finn, Marisa McLeod
Brewster Celebration
Dr. Bill Roper, Carmen Conry, Marisa McLeod
Brewster Celebration
Marisa and Carmen gather with their daughters
Brewster Celebration
Brewster celebration
Brewster Celebration
Marisa McLeod speaks
Brewster Celebration
Dr. Falk speaks