Identical Kidney Cousins
April 28, 2017, 12:13pm EDT
Dennis and Darrell were a good match from the very beginning. They are cousins with a brotherly bond that goes back to their childhood in a Northeastern Minnesota town where they grew up as best friends. Family values have always been held in high regard by both and they have never been more evident than they are now.
Dennis and Darrell have shared a lot in life and currently, Dennis is on deck to give his cousin the gift of life through kidney donation. “As soon as I heard Darrell needed a kidney, I didn't think twice,” said Dennis. “I dialed the number and got tested, without question.
In an effort to be accepted for donation, Dennis lost 45 pounds and focused on being as healthy as possible in time for the transplant. “I would do anything to make it happen. It's just something you do for those you love and want to keep around as long as you can.”
Darrell’s kidney failure was caused by high blood pressure and by the time he was referred to a nephrologist, his kidneys were functioning at only 10-20%, so the search for a donor began. Several people came forward, including one close friend who was a match, but didn’t qualify due to other complications. Gratefully, within a couple months, Dennis was approved for donation.
Raised with a heart and commitment for giving, Dennis believes that if someone is in need and you have what they need, you give it up. And according to him, “That doesn't just go for time and money, it means ‘spare parts’ as well.”
On March 7th, Dennis and Darrell were prepped and ready transfer that “spare part,” when an infection was detected on Darrell’s lung, leading to postponement of the surgery. After several weeks of antibiotics and now necessary dialysis, the pair is hopeful that they will soon be back in the operating room. In the meantime, Dennis is standing by, staying healthy and preparing to rise to the call to return to the University of Minnesota. Dennis says, “As soon as Darrell is healthy enough to go ahead with the kidney surgery, I’ll be there...ready and willing.”
Also, ready and willing is a supportive community of family in friends in the Twin Cities who together have donated more than $30,000 to support both families, along with providing transportation to medical appointments and dialysis. “Our family is deeply touched by the outpouring of love and support,” said Darrell’s daughter Chelsea.“Thank you to each and every person that has made a difference in our lives, you are all amazing people and we plan to pay it forward by helping other families."