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Chris Mullin Among Those Honored at Fourth Annual Gift of Life Benefit

Mullin receives leadership award

Dennis Bligen and Jill Christensen (httpss://

Dennis Bligen and Jill Christensen (httpss://


On September 24, the Dennis Bligen Kidney Foundation hosted their Fourth Annual Gift of Life Benefit at the Crest Hollow Country Club in Woodbury, NY.

The Dennis Bligen Kidney Foundation was started by Dennis Bligen in 2012. Bligen is a former New York Jets running back and the only St. John’s University graduate to make it to the NFL. He was a walk-on for the football team at St. John’s and starred as a cornerback, kicker, and running back for four years. For his record-breaking career, Dennis was inducted into the St. John’s University Hall of Fame in 1998.

In 1984, Dennis signed as a free agent with the Jets, which started his five year playing career. In the NFL, he earned a reputation as being a versatile halfback, fullback, tight end, and even special teams. He returned to St. John’s after his career in the NFL, serving as Assistant Football Coach until 2003 when the program was ended. He is now a football coach at Chaminade High School in Long Island and has been a Quality Control Manager for the NFL since 2009.

Dennis was diagnosed with chronic kidney disease in 2002. He was a very energetic person and always was but soon his family realized something was wrong with him. He looked weak and was more to himself. He had hid from them that he had kidney disease. As soon as his family found out of his disease, they all wanted to donate their kidneys. However, Dennis’ families have a history of diabetes and were not permitted to donate their kidney. After years of looking for a match, Dennis was finally able to find one from one of his classmates from St. John’s, Jill Christensen. She saved his life, and thus was awarded with the Gift of Life Award at this years Gala.

Since the foundation was started, The Dennis Bligen Kidney Foundation has made significant financial contributions to Mount Sinai Hospital, The National Kidney Registry, The National Kidney Foundation, and many other organizations. The foundation has also facilitated two kidney transplants and have assisted donors and recipients with various medical costs. It is a great foundation, based on a good cause and with the help of their sponsors will continue to grow and help people with chronic kidney disease.

The honorees at this year’s Gala were Lou Carnesecca who received the humanitarian award, Chris Mullin who received the leadership award, and Toya Thomas who received the Gift of Life Award.

Every year, kidney disease kills more people than breast or prostate cancer. One in three American adults are currently at risk for developing kidney disease. The Dennis Bligen Foundation is always looking for ways to improve their efforts and increase their vision. Anyone can help make a difference. For more information, you can visit the website,

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