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Author Topic: Fifty years later, Northland woman's donated kidney is going strong (donor too!)  (Read 1813 times)
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Photo is Jenna - after Disneyland - 1988

« on: June 13, 2015, 05:15:25 PM »

Fifty years later, Northland woman's donated kidney is going strong

By John Lundy Today at 12:58 a.m.
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Every year, Bruce Aiton treats his wife, Katheryn, to an anniversary celebration, and this one is going to be special.

It's not their wedding anniversary or her birth anniversary.

Katheryn Aiton (left) and her older brother Jim “Shorty” Knight pose for a photo in 1965, shortly after Aiton received a kidney donation from Knight. (Photo courtesy of Aiton family)
Instead, Monday marks the 50th anniversary of the day when the Grand Rapids woman received a donated kidney from her older brother Jim "Shorty" Knight.

For Katheryn Aiton, 77, to have survived and thrived for a half-century since her transplant is "unbelievable," said Glenn Peterson of Cloquet, a much more recent heart and kidney transplant recipient who's a member of the Head of the Lakes Organ Transplant Support Group.

"If you think about the technology that was available at the time, that's unbelievable," Peterson said.

Katheryn's kidneys failed in 1965, Bruce explained, but it was believed the problem stemmed from a bout with scarlet fever and strep throat she suffered as a seventh- or eighth-grader.

She developed glomerulonephritis, Bruce wrote in an email. The Mayo Clinic website describes that as an inflammation of the tiny filters that are responsible for passing excess fluid and waste into the urine.

As the disease slowly progressed, Katheryn graduated from Grand Rapids High School and married Warren Rowe in 1958. They had two children: Michael, born in 1959, and Andrea in 1962.

But her condition deteriorated, and by 1965 she was out of options.

"We knew we needed (a transplant), so we checked Rochester and the U," Katheryn said over the phone.

The University of Minnesota had performed its first kidney transplant in 1963 and had a better success rate, she learned. The success rate was highest when the transplant involved siblings.

Her brother volunteered, and his comrades at VFW Post 1720 donated 20 units of blood, Bruce related.

The transplant took place on June 15, 1965. Jim developed an infection after the operation and Katheryn stayed in the hospital for a month. She remains on anti-rejection drugs but has never had a serious issue, Bruce said.

"I was able to see my kids grow up," Katheryn said.

She now has two grandchildren and two great-grandchildren in addition to her two children.

Warren Rowe died in 1969; Katheryn married Bruce in 1978.

Both Katheryn and her brother are in good health, said Bruce, a retired electrician.

"We're all getting old, and all the stuff that goes with it," he said.

Katheryn has kept in touch with other kidney transplant recipients from the same era, he said. But none has matched her longevity.

"I did a lot of searching on the Internet, and I've only found one that made it over 50," Bruce said. "A lady in Oklahoma made it to 54 years."

Bruce started throwing an annual bash on the 40th anniversary of Katheryn's transplant.

The 50th anniversary open house will take place from 1-4 p.m. Sunday at the Sawmill Inn, 2301 S. Highway 169, Grand Rapids. Friends, family, transplant recipients and donors are welcome, Bruce said.

Peterson, who received his new heart and kidney in 2003, was invited and intends to be there with information about the support group, he said.

"We celebrate the people that have received (organs), but we celebrate the people who give more than ourselves," said Peterson, 71.

Katheryn was asked if the idea of a transplant when the technology was so new was scary.

"Oh yeah, for me it was," she said, then adding soon after: "We did pretty well."


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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« Reply #1 on: June 13, 2015, 05:37:16 PM »

Keep posting these, okarol! I wonder if this was a 6/6 match, since it was her brother. Maybe that was the only match they'd consider doing at the time. Whatever the secret is, I wish somebody could figure out how to bottle it.
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"Still crazy after all these years."

« Reply #2 on: June 14, 2015, 05:31:56 AM »

 :beer1; :beer1;

Uninterrupted in-center (self-care) hemodialysis since 1982 -- 34 YEARS on March 3, 2016 !!
No transplant.  Not yet, anyway.  Only decided to be listed on 11/9/06. Inactive at the moment.  ;)
I make films.

Just the facts: 70.0 kgs. (about 154 lbs.)
Treatment: Tue-Thur-Sat   5.5 hours, 2x/wk, 6 hours, 1x/wk
Dialysate flow (Qd)=600;  Blood pump speed(Qb)=315
Fresenius Optiflux-180 filter--without reuse
Fresenius 2008T dialysis machine
My KDOQI Nutrition (+/ -):  2,450 Calories, 84 grams Protein/day.

"Living a life, not an apology."
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