Fairmont family shares kidney donation story through “paired exchange” program
Parker Lintelman’s preschool teacher, Kim Miller, donated her kidney in 2022 to pave the way for Parker’s eventual transplant.
FAIRMONT, Minn. (KEYC) ->More than 104,000 people in America are waiting for some form of an organ transplant; 85% are looking for a kidney donation.
After their daughter joined the group in need of a transplant, a Fairmont family is sharing their story in hopes that more join the effort to donate and potentially save lives.
Parker Lintelman, 4, was diagnosed stage 4 chronic kidney disease in December 2021.
“If it hadn’t been caught, she probably would have been continuing to live until it was a point where she couldn’t leave the hospital.” Elizabeth Lintelman, Parker’s mother, said.
At the time of the diagnosis, doctors said Parker’s kidneys were functioning at 18%, meaning she would eventually need a transplant.
“At the beginning we both were like ‘we’ll get tested,’ all the family got tested,” Seth Lintelman, Parker’s father, said. “Everybody was gung-ho to try and find something.”
“We just assumed because it was a child we made, that I grew inside of me, I’d be able to give her my kidney,” Elizabeth LIntelman said. “That’s not what happened.”
After learning a direct donation would be difficult to find for Parker, the Lintelman’s turned to the “paired exchange” program offered through the M Health Fairview’s Masonic Children’s Hospital.
According to the provider’s website, “the donors ‘trade’ recipients so each recipient receives a donated kidney from someone with the same blood type.”
When the Fairmont community learned of Parker’s situation, it stepped up.
“The U of M called and they said ‘can you take down your post or whatever it is.’” Seth Lintelman said. “‘We’ve had a ton of people filling out this application and everybody wants to help and it’s kind of overwhelming.’”
One of those applicants was Parker’s preschool teacher, Kim Miller.
“[Parker’s] shirt says ‘You have a pair, why not share?’” Miller said. “So I was literally just ‘I have a pair, why not share?’ So that’s what I did, I gained a family and I just go on about my daily life.”
September 21, 2023 marked the one-year anniversary of Kim’s kidney donation through the “paired exchange” program. On October 4, Parker is scheduled to undergo her own kidney transplant.
“My kidney went to a 38-year-old in San Francisco I believe,” Miller said. “And with that being said, Parker got her voucher. “I got to pick five people to be on the voucher [her kids], so if they ever need one as well, they get it.”
Parker’s condition will need continuous monitoring and medication through her life, but her upcoming transplant brings hope for the Lintelman family.
“We’re hoping that the match that the U of M has found her is going to last her a really long time,” Elizabeth Lintelman said. “And hopefully medicine progresses a lot during that time.”
In the meantime, Parker continues doing what she loves, which according to her parents, includes playing in the dirt and making up handshakes with her older sister.
KEYC News Now attempted to reach M Health Fairview for this story but no representatives were available for comment.
There are two upcoming fundraising events for Parker and the Lintelman Family. The first is a CrossFit event on Saturday, September 30 at Liv Fit, 1215 N. State St., Suite 2, Fairmont, MN.
The second is Sunday, November 5 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Buddy Boys Fine BBQ in Minnetrista, MN.
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