Friends for life

Endowed gift from Buffs fans to support kidney transplant at CU Anschutz

The Traftons, Dr. Kennealey and the Snyders

From left, Charlie Trafton, Teri Trafton, Dr. Peter Kennealey, Char Snyder and Lee Snyder.

It's no surprise that diehard fans Teri and Charlie Trafton and Char and Lee Snyder had outlined their estate plans to support CU Boulder Athletics.

The couples, both season ticket holders, are seated next to each other in Section 569 and enjoy cheering on the Colorado Buffaloes at Folsom Field. Teri noticed Char wasn't in her seat like usual one particular football Saturday in 2016.

She learned Char was suffering, and possibly dying, from acute kidney failure.

"We expected to see Char because we had heard she had a kidney donated," Charlie said. "When we didn't see her, Lee told Teri she was still looking for a donor. Teri was broken-hearted."

In that moment, Teri made up her mind to donate her kidney to Char. But 11 people had tried before to see if they were compatible—with no luck. Months later, several rounds of medical tests determined Char and Teri were indeed a perfect match.

"There's more to CU football than just what happens on the field," Teri said. "It really is a community. You have a common interest, and you are all in it together."

Peter Kennealley, MD, performed the life-saving transplant last year at the CU Anschutz Medical Center. Months after the successful surgery, the Snyders established the Trafton-Snyder Endowed Fund in Kidney Transplantation.

"We wanted to honor Teri for what she did," Lee said.

CU Anschutz is one of the top centers in the nation for living donor transplant programs. The endowed fund provides flexible resources for kidney transplantation and end-stage renal disease care initiatives, especially for patients in rural or underserved areas.

"It does change your perception of what generosity is and what you think donating and giving really is," Lee said of the experience. "There's so much more stuff that we can do to help other people. Something like this does affect you. You never forget about it. It just shows you what's possible and what's meaningful."

Last spring, the Traftons and the Snyders, along with Kenneally, were honored at the annual Heritage Society Luncheon. This fall, the Snyders and Traftons are cheering together once again at Folsom Field, their friendship stronger than ever.

Said Char: "Everyone was just terrific throughout this whole process. Dr. Kennealey was wonderful. Anschutz was amazing. CU has been fantastic. All the love that has been shown to us has been incredible."

A love of Colorado football brought them together.

A life-saving transplant made them friends for life.

Planned gifts ensure their legacies, both on and off the field, continue forever.

Excerpts of this story were originally published here.