Archive for November, 2009

Alan Brunnet (with a little help from the surgical teams in Chapel Hill, North Carolina) donated one of his kidneys to save the life of 7-year-old  Nate Forbis.

Brunnet and his family live just down the road from Henry Forbis, the boy’s father, in Lumber Bridge. They attend the same church, and Brunnet’s youngest son works on the Forbis farm.

“They’ve been good friends for a long, long time,” Brunnet said. “I want that little boy to have a good life. I want him to be happy and play like I did when I was a little boy. I want him to fulfill all his dreams like I had the chance to do.”

Good on you, sir.



Kimberly Ards and Chekita Sidney have been friends since forever. Their relationship was cemented when they showed up at a party in the same dress. Now, thanks to Chekita’s decision to be a living kidney donor for Kimberly, they have matching kidneys, too.

Kimberly didn’t like the idea of the UNOS list.

“I thought it was so morbid, praying for someone to die so I could have their kidney. When the doctors asked if I had thought about live donors, I said I would ask,” she said.

In all, there were eight matches and through process of elimination, it eventually came down to Sidney.

“I have faith that this is something that’s meant to be done. If I can do that for her, then she can live her life like she’s used to living,” Sidney said. “I feel like it’s something I have to do, that I’m here to do.”

Here’s to girlfriends, and to asking the people around you if they would consider kidney donation. Eight possibles!!



Illinois brother and sister Aaron and Ruth Rosa are celebrating the return of Aaron’s health, after little sister Ruth donated one of her kidneys to Aaron.

“It feels peaceful,” she said about helping her brother. “Now he’s free to plan his life without being glued to a dialysis machine.”

You go, Ruth.



Marine Cpl. Ryan Fackey, 21, has always been a giving person. His latest act of generosity is to give one of his kidneys to 15-year-old Dani Jones.

The transplant went off without a hitch, and the first thing Dani said when she came out of anesthetic, her mother said, was “Where’s Ryan?”

That puts tears in my eyes, because I remember hearing my recipient coming out of anesthesia and bellowing, “How’s Nancy? Is Nancy OK? How’s Nancy?” I waved my arms and his family pointed through all the equipment between us so that he could see that I was all right.

I came out of anesthesia asking if he was OK, and more importantly, if he’d … um … used the kidney yet. “There’s an expression,” his surgeon said. “‘Like a racehorse.’”



Thirty years ago, Lori Bonner and John Brannon made horrible squawky sounds together as members of the same elementary school orchestra. They each grew up to be a music teacher. Now they’re going to have another thing in common: Lori is planning to give John one of her kidneys.

The waiting list for a kidney transplant averages five to eight years in Southern California, said Dr. Arputharaj H. Kore, assistant professor of surgery and kidney transplant medical director.

Finding a relative or friend to donate a kidney is a patient’s best option, said Dr. Pedro Baron, surgeon professor and medical director of Loma Linda’s liver and pancreas transplant program.

“Clearly the best treatment of kidney failure is transplant,” Baron said by phone. “You need to get a transplant as soon as possible.” The risk of cardiac disease increases with waiting and on dialysis, which stresses the heart.

I could be wrong, but that sense of urgency is not communicated to patients or to the general public. It’s just sort of, “We’ll need to get you on dialysis, and you should consider being listed for a transplant.” If patients are told about transplant at all.

If you need a kidney, ask everyone you know to consider testing. Put something on the internet. Find someone willing to donate, and if s/he doesn’t match you, get on a paired donation list. If you’re ambivalent about a kidney transplant, get on the list anyway. You may change your mind by the time you get to the top of the list.

If you have two healthy kidneys, count your blessings, then consider sharing your spare with someone in need.



Greg Buchanan and Gayle Quinn waved to each other in the foyer after church, but they didn’t know each other that well. Then Gayle heard that Greg needed a kidney transplant.

“I heard a voice in my head, my voice, but I believe it was coming from God,” Quinn said. “I heard it say, ‘You could do that.’ ”

On Oct. 2, Quinn did do that. She gave Buchanan a new kidney.

My two cents: If you know someone who is on dialysis, you know someone who needs a kidney transplant sooner rather than later. Think about getting tested. As Greg notes:

“I’d seen so many of my friends at the dialysis center who I used to get a hug from every Monday, Wednesday and Friday, and they passed away.”



You have to have a really macabre sense of humor to appreciate this gory little video from the Onion News Network. Fortunately, I do.

Don’t say I didn’t warn you!



Ray Kern made sure Grant Gawronski didn’t have to go onto dialysis. Gawronski needed a kidney transplant, and as someone with Type O blood, he faced quite a wait.

Two weeks after the transplant, Ray says:

“I feel great about the whole experience. That I was able to help a good friend with the ability to live a normal life with his family was just amazing to me.”



When Wanda Elsberry, 66, needed a kidney donor, her kids and husband couldn’t do it. But then her son’s ex-wife stepped up. Wanda kept asking Julie Kochevar, 44, if she was sure.

Julie was absolutely sure she wanted to help. Doctors, nurses and acquaintances kept questioning Julie’s decision. 

“‘Your ex-mother-in-law?” they said, Kochevar recalled, chuckling.



Check this out:

Kimberly Smith , a foster mother to more than 30 children and adoptive mother of five, had undergone 41 surgeries and exhausted all treatment for her kidney failure, prompting her pastor to make a public plea for help.

Jason Evans of Hubbard answered the call. …

I just stood there and cried, because I was just overwhelmed. Somebody who just…they don’t even know you. That’d be very hard even when you know someone,” Smith said.

Thanks, Jason. (It wasn’t that hard, was it?)