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Elisabeth's Story

The Living Donor Paired Exchange Program is a wonderful program which I and my husband Steve enjoy sharing.
It was 1984 and my GP had noticed that I had been losing protein. I started doing lab work more often to check for consistency. I was monitored during all three of my pregnancies and it was found that my levels had stabilized after having my children. My brother had nephritis starting at age 12 , and my medical team knew about the hereditary factor and that I could follow in his footsteps.

In 2017, my creatinine suddenly jumped to over 300 which had never happened before. I was officially diagnosed with FSGS in 2018 and I was referred to Dr. Michelle Hladunewich who specializes in FSGS.

Dr. Hladunewich tried to save my kidney function but unfortunately, I ended up with a severe infection from diverticulitis and ended up in hospital for two weeks causing my kidneys to become severely damaged. I started dialysis, which I stayed on for almost three years.

After I started dialysis in 2019 it was suggested that I should think about a kidney transplant. My son was tested and was found to be a match but one week before we were supposed to have surgery, the donor team decided that if he donated, it could be detrimental to his health later. It was then that Dr. Hladunewich recommended the Living Donor Paired Exchange program.

My husband Steve’s first contact with the Living Donor Paired Exchange program was in April 2020. Essentially, my husband would donate a kidney to someone anonymously and I would benefit by receiving a kidney donation myself. My transplant was in May 2022 and Steve donated his kidney in June of the same year.

We have talked to many friends, family and others about my transplant. Most people have difficulty understanding that Steve donated to me and didn’t all at the same time. His gift to someone else ensured that I would receive the gift of life as well. This is a wonderful program which we enjoy talking about.