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Kidney-Pancreas Transplant: Chris' Story

"This is possible because of one person. One person decided to be an organ donor. That person said, 'In case something happens to me, I want to help someone else.' That person is a hero to me and my family."

- Chris, who underwent a kidney and pancreas transplant at UW Hospital in 2007.

 

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Chris, pictured below with his family, underwent a kidney and pancreas transplant at UW Hospital in 2007. He and his family shared their transplant experience at the 2011 Doug Miller Symposium.
 

Chris, who underwent a kidney transplant at UW Hospital and Clinics in 2007, and his family shared their transplant experience at the 2011 Doug Miller Symposium.When Chris was only 2 years old, he was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes.

 

Growing up, doctors told him that he would likely only live into his 20s.

 

By 37, Chris had struggled for many years with illness and had trouble controlling his medications.

 

In 2007, his doctors informed him that his kidneys were functioning at 18 percent.

 

In September 2007, Chris began dialysis but was only feeling worse, so he made his way to UW Hospitals and Clinics to visit with the transplant team.

 

"They explained the process to me and answered what few questions I had," Chris said. "I came away feeling that these people seemed to be confident that they were going to be able to do something for me."

 

On September 18, 2007, Chris was placed on the transplant list. One evening, at 8:30, Chris received a call from UWHC stating that a donor had been found. Chris arrived in Madison around 2:30am and received a kidney and pancreas transplant.

 

Chris spent eight days recovering at UWHC.

 

"If angels walk among us, they work at UWHC," Chris said. "They saved my life, and sometimes I still can't believe it's real. After 37 years of diabetes and the constant fear of having to say goodbye to loved ones, it was all washed away by one incredible team in Madison at UWHC."

 

Chris recently returned for his two-year checkup and is doing well. He has not experienced any rejection or sickness since his transplant.

 

"This is possible because of one person," Chris said. "One person decided to be an organ donor. That person said, 'In case something happens to me, I want to help someone else.' That person is a hero to me and my family."