Mankato couple takes part in paired kidney exchange

Published: Oct. 22, 2021 at 5:52 PM CDT|Updated: Oct. 22, 2021 at 6:43 PM CDT
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MANKATO, Minn. (KEYC) — Last year, Sandra Oachs was put on the kidney transplant list. It’s a list she shared with more than 100,000 other Americans waiting for a donor.

In 1998, the North Mankato city councilwoman was diagnosed with Polycystic Kidney Disease, an inherited disorder that causes fluid-filled cysts to form on the kidneys.

Oachs said, “My grandmother had this disease, my mother had it, I have it, and we just recently found out my son has it.”

Medications helped manage the illness until three years ago, when it progressed to dangerous levels.

“My numbers were getting to the point where my kidneys were starting to shut down,” Oachs stated.

Oachs’ cysts grew to weigh nine pounds.

She was put on the transplant list, but with an average wait time of almost four years, she began searching for a directed donation.

Her husband got tested to see if he was a potential match. Results showed he was not compatible, but he still wanted to help.

That’s when the couple discovered the National Kidney Foundation’s paired donor program.

Oachs mentioned, “There’s people that want to give to their loved one but they’re not a match. If the donor is willing, they will donate their kidney to somebody else out there and their donor will donate to you.”

Within two weeks, they matched with an anonymous couple.

“My husband is giving a life to someone else, and that someone else, you know, their friend is giving a life to me,” Oachs explained.

On Nov. 2, Oachs’ husband will donate his kidney to the anonymous recipient. Their partner will donate theirs to Oachs the next day.

She said, “It has renewed my faith in humanity.”

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