Siblings bonded by a kidney, sense of humor, and organ donation message

On Wednesday, April 11 at 11:05am Hennepin Healthcare will celebrate the thousands of lives changed thanks to its 55th year of kidney transplant at a flag-raising ceremony outside HCMC’s 717 South 6th St. entrance. Every year Hennepin Healthcare honors donors and their families who have given organs, tissue, eyes and blood at this flag-raising ceremony to mark National Donate Life Month.

Attending this year’s Donate Life celebration will be special guests John Nelson, who received a kidney from his sister, Kris Roberts on October 23, 1975 – 42 years ago! Nelson and Roberts will be driving all the way from South Dakota for the flag-raising ceremony.

“So much has happened in the past 42 years that would not have been possible without my sister’s generous donation,” explains Nelson, a 75-year-old who retired from a successful career in the South Dakota Health Department.

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Kris and John in 1975 at dialysis

“I was on dialysis in 1974 and at that time the life expectancy for someone with my diagnosis was 5 years. But after transplant surgery, I went on to complete a 35-year career in public heath microbiology. My wife and I have been married for 53 years. Thirty-nine years ago we adopted our daughter, and we now also have a grandson.”

“In my mind, there was no decision to be made,” said Kris Roberts when asked about her decision to donate her kidney to her brother. “As soon as I heard that he needed a kidney, I wanted to help. It was a great honor to improve his life.” Continue reading “Siblings bonded by a kidney, sense of humor, and organ donation message”