WILLMAR, Minn. (AP) — Jim Thompson’s oldest sister gave him a kidney in a transplant operation in 1998 that kept him off dialysis for 15 years. Now the Willmar-area man will be receiving a kidney from his youngest sister.
Thompson said his family has always been close, and the kidney donations have brought him and his sisters even closer, the West Central Tribune reported (http://bit.ly/14WcrQu ).
Thompson was 33 when he had his first transplant. Tests showed that of his three siblings, his oldest sister, Jean Gladitsch, was the perfect match. The transplant was a success, but over the past 15 years the new kidney has been gradually failing.
If it isn’t replaced, he’ll be forced to undergo dialysis.
Gladitsch laughs when she recalls the phone call she got about a year ago from Thompson jokingly asking if she wanted to donate her other kidney.
That’s when his youngest sister, Jan Lambert of Willmar, knew it was her turn to step up. She’ll be donating a kidney for an operation scheduled for Aug. 27.
“I always knew in the back of my mind that I was next in line if it was ever going to happen,” said Lambert, 45, a nursing assistant.
Although tests showed she would be a good match, doctors told her she’d have to shed some weight before she could be a donor. She was already a little apprehensive about the surgery, and the weight-loss challenge didn’t ease her nerves. But she said she lost the weight, feels great and is now ready for the transplant surgery.
“Because of wanting to do this for him, it gave me the drive to do it so I’ve managed to lose over 35 pounds,” she said. “I know that I’m healthy and I’m ready to do it.”
The timing of the surgery was scheduled so the brother and sister would be recuperated in time for the Oct. 12 wedding of Thompson’s oldest daughter. Thompson said he’s driven by the hope that he’ll have enough energy for a wedding dance with his daughter.
Information from: West Central Tribune, http://www.wctrib.com