When Donna Jorgenson's kidneys failed 11 years ago, her sister did not think twice about giving up one of hers. Recurrent kidney disease, however, sent her back to the hospital not once, but two more times.
"Her original kidney she lost because of high blood pressure," said Kathy Klockziem, who was the first to donate a kidney to her sister.
"Mine she lost because she got pregnant," Klockziem said. "She lost the kidney and she lost the baby."
Klockziem says out of six family members, she was the only one who matched Donna's O-positive blood type. She says it was amazing that her children also had the same blood type and could be suitable donors.
The second kidney came from Donna's niece. A rare blood disease attacked that one, however, causing her to become very sick in April. Her nephew David then gave her one of his kidneys in early November.
Doctors say both are doing fine after the surgery. The family says they shared their story in hopes that it would inspire others to consider donating organs. Right now more than 80,000 people are on a waiting list for a kidney in the U.S.
wsaw.com: Extended Web Coverage
Organ and Tissue Donors
Each day about 63 people receive an organ transplant, but another 16 people on the waiting list die because not enough organs are available.
Talk to your family members about organ and tissue donation so they know your wishes.
Organ Donation Frequently Asked Questions
Who can become a donor
Are there age limits for donors?
How do I express my wishes to become an organ donor?
What can be donated?
Are there any costs to my family for donation?
How are the organ distributed?
Current Waiting List – As of July 19, 2002
Source: http://www.organdonor.gov/ (U.S. Government Organ Donation Web site)