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Photo is Jenna - after Disneyland - 1988

« on: October 30, 2013, 09:46:48 PM »

Woman continues to thrive with Clinic’s oldest transplanted kidney
Beth Mlady/Sun News By Beth Mlady/Sun News

on October 28, 2013 at 2:22 PM, updated October 28, 2013 at 3:13 PM

Patricia Kunkle considers every day a blessing after receiving a kidney from her mother in 1968. The kidney is now 91 years old and still going strong.

ROCKY RIVER, Ohio – Patricia Kunkle soon will celebrate her 66th birthday, but every moment is cause for celebration since receiving her mother’s kidney during a transplant in 1968.

Kunkle’s mother, Jane Malloy, was 89 when she passed away two years ago. That means the healthy organ inside her daughter is 91, an almost unbelievable transplant achievement. According to David Goldfarb, M.D., of the Cleveland Clinic Renal Transplant Program, kidneys from living donors usually last between 12 and 15 years. If transplanted from a deceased donor, a kidney usually remains viable about 10 years.

A Rocky River resident, Kunkle recently shared the details of her 45-year transplant journey.

“I have lived a medical life,” Kunkle said Oct. 16. “During my senior year of high school in 1966, I started feeling kind of punk. I ended up in the hospital, where they diagnosed me with lupus. My kidneys were shutting down because of it. I was OK for a while, but then in 1967 things started flaring up again. They put me on dialysis.”

1028 RR Patricia Kunkle and her mom one mother after surgery.jpg
This photo of kidney donor Jane Malloy and her daughter Patricia was taken one month after the 1968 transplant.
Photo courtesy of Patricia Kunkle
Her widowed mother never complained about the frequent trips from West Park to Cleveland Clinic in 1967, Kunkle recalled. The dialysis took its toll on Kunkle, though, and doctors knew a transplant was the only way to save her. They tested Kunkle’s older sister, who had a small child at the time, and Malloy.

“My mother was a better match,” Kunkle said. “I remember waiting a long time (for the transplant surgery) because they didn’t have the tissue matching like they do now. I remember the team coming in and asking me why I wanted this. I told them I was tired of feeling bad.”

Her mother’s sacrifice was not surprising, she said.

“I think my mother thought that when it comes to family, it was just something you did,” Kunkle explained. “She did tell me later on in life that she remembered the doctors telling me how sick I was. It’s a very daunting thing to think about. For my mother, there was no hesitation.”

Kunkle said she awakened after the transplant and knew her life had changed for the better.

“It was just unbelievable how good I felt,” she said. “It was like night and day. From there, every day is a good day. If I didn’t have that kidney, I wouldn’t be here today.”

October marks the 50th anniversary of Cleveland Clinic’s kidney transplant program, the largest of its kind in Ohio. Kunkle praised the hospital’s staff, both past and present.

“They’ve been great,” Kunkle said. “They looked at my whole being, not just at my kidney. I would never go anywhere else.”

Everyone should consider becoming an organ donor, she added.

“It’s about the difference you can make in someone’s life,” Kunkle emphasized. “You’re giving someone a future.”

For more information about Cleveland Clinic medical services, go to clevelandclinic.org.


Admin for IHateDialysis 2008 - 2014, retired.
Jenna is our daughter, bad bladder damaged her kidneys.
Was on in-center hemodialysis 2003-2007.
7 yr transplant lost due to rejection.
She did PD Sept. 2013 - July 2017
Found a swap living donor using social media, friends, family.
New kidney in a paired donation swap July 26, 2017.
Her story ---> https://www.facebook.com/WantedKidneyDonor
Please watch her video: http://youtu.be/D9ZuVJ_s80Y
Living Donors Rock! http://www.livingdonorsonline.org -
News video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J-7KvgQDWpU
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