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Author Topic: Brothers mark 35 years with kidney gift  (Read 1690 times)
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Photo is Jenna - after Disneyland - 1988

« on: May 28, 2014, 11:46:00 PM »

Brothers mark 35 years with kidney gift

Tom Wilemon, The Tennessean 1:06 a.m. EDT May 28, 2014
Kidney brothers 052714

NASHVILLE For 35 years, Tom Cooper has pondered how to say thank you on the anniversary of the day his little brother saved his life.

One year, he took him to a basketball game in Denver. Another year, he sent him a dozen roses. This time, he wrote a book.

Cooper has the longest surviving kidney from a transplant performed at Vanderbilt University Medical Center a kidney that his younger brother donated on Feb. 20, 1979. He writes about the experience in Miracle at Exit Number 3 (Tate Publishing, $14.99), which in many ways is a tribute to Ed Cooper of Hermitage, Tenn.

The two brothers will appear at events in Nashville in celebration of the book and to raise awareness about organ donation.

STORY: More in need of organ transplants seek their own donors
STORY: One donor starts chain of 5 kidney transplants

Tom Cooper was a 26-year-old man nearing death when the transplant occurred. His kidneys had been damaged by sulfa drugs when he was a child.

Ed Cooper was barely a man. He was only 18.

"Those extra years of life allowed me to marry and have children who are now 25 and 28 years old," said Tom Cooper, who lives in Fredericksburg, Va. "His gift was not only a gift of life to me but a gift of life to them."

But the way Ed Cooper tells the story, his older brother is the hero.

"He always set the example of perseverance and hard work and fighting through whatever adversity he faced," said Ed Cooper. "He was always my hero. When the need arose to try to help him, I was more than happy to do that."

The book gets its name from an Interstate 24 exit near Paducah, Ky., where the Coopers grew up. Ed Cooper moved to the Nashville area with his wife in 1981 and has lived here ever since.

Dr. Hal Helderman, medical director of the Vanderbilt Transplant Center, said it is unusual for a kidney transplant to last 35 years or longer. Doctors measure transplant longevity success rates by using the half-life point as a marker the year by which 50% of transplanted organs have failed.

"The average half-life for a perfect match would be 25 years and for a less than perfect live donor match would be more like 15 years," said Helderman.

There are three recipients of living-related kidneys who have had their kidneys for 48 years, said Anne Paschke, a spokeswoman for the United Network for Organ Sharing, or UNOS, citing the annual Clinical Transplantation report.

According to the Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network, nationwide there are 100,794 people on the waiting list for a kidney as of May 23. In Tennessee, there are 2,320 awaiting a kidney.


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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