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My journey towards the world of polycystic kidney disease and kidney transplant began in the early 1990's when my father was diagnosed with the disease and his physician suggested his children also be checked for this condition.
I learned that I inherited his condition, but I didn't have any issues until 2013. I worked with a nephrologist through the summer of 2018, when he said that I would need a kidney transplant or have to go on dialysis.
I didn't have any relatives that were a match for me, so I began to search for a potential non-related donor. My husband, Bob, an ordained Deacon, suggested that he put a notice out to the Green Bay Diaconate Community. A very special couple, Claire and Steve Letourneaux, came forward when they heard I needed a kidney transplant. Claire was willing to go through the testing process and we soon learned that she was a good match. After the final tests were completed, we learned that Claire's donation had to be delayed because she needed to have her appendix removed immediately. Her surgery and recovery pushed back the kidney and transplant surgeries to the end of December. We knew it was going to be a different Christmas for all of us.
Transplant day finally arrived on December 20, 2018, and everything went well. With the help of the caring, professional staff at UW Health, a true Christmas miracle took place. To think that our lives came together 18 years earlier to begin the journey towards Deacon ordination, and then to travel this journey together to help one another to give and receive, this truly felt like Divine intervention.
It’s been more than two years now, and we are both doing great. We are fully recovered and each living with one kidney. The good experiences far exceeded the difficult ones and we are all filled with gratitude toward the staff at the UW Health Transplant Center, and for everyone else who held us up in prayer and still continue to do so.