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Simone Barton's Story

Simone Barton

“My life after the operation has changed dramatically. I am once again happy and healthy.”

Social media has the power to reunite old friends and help families keep in touch. For Simone Barton, social media did so much more: It literally saved her life.

When Simone, CEO of the Bermuda Heart Foundation, learned in March 2016 that her kidneys were failing, she was faced with two choices: a lifetime of dialysis or a kidney transplant. She did not want to join the many other Bermudians who go on dialysis, and opted for the latter choice. But who would serve as her donor?

“I knew I would have a transplant and it had to be at the top-rated hospital, NewYork-Presbyterian,” Simone said. After making her decision, she connected with the Hospital’s Global Services team, who managed her care through the entire process. “They gave me the comfort that allowed me to focus on my health while they focused on the details of my care.”

Her nephrologist — David Serur, MD, of NewYork-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center — was also by her side from day one. “He didn’t speak down to me; he spoke to me. He made me feel like he was an old friend, and we were going to walk through the process together,” she said.

Simone set out to find a kidney donor. No one in her family was a match, but she refused to give up. Three other potential donors were rejected due to their own health issues. So Simone turned to Facebook and posted her plea. “I remained steadfastly optimistic that my perfect O+ kidney donor was out there somewhere,” she said.

Liz Way, who lives in Canada, saw that post, and it changed both women’s lives. Simone had met Liz through a business connection and the two were Facebook friends. Without hesitation, Liz knew she would step up and be Simone’s donor. As luck would have it, she was the perfect match. On June 30, 2016 — three months to the day after the Facebook post — Liz donated one of her kidneys to Simone at NewYork-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell. Sandip Kapur, MD, Chief of Transplant Surgery and Director of Kidney and Pancreas Transplant Programs, performed the transplant.

“My life after the operation has changed dramatically. I am once again happy and healthy,” concluded Simone. A year later, she and Liz are doing well, and both are grateful for the exceptional care they received at NewYork-Presbyterian.