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Living Donation

Kidney and Pancreas Transplant Patient Stories

At the UPMC Kidney and Pancreas Transplant Program, we strive to make a positive difference in each person we treat.

During a stressful time full of decisions and next steps, we hope that the success stories of previous patients will help you focus on the impact that a transplant can have on your quality of life.

Note: These patients' treatment and results may not be representative of all similar cases.

Bob Lee and Kelly Mowry
Bob Lee and Kelly Mowry

Kelly Mowry could not imagine what life would be like without her father, Bob. So, when Bob needed a kidney transplant, Kelly immediately volunteered to be his living donor. After Kelly's life-saving decision, she and her father are both healthy and are now closer than they have ever been.

» Read Bob and Kelly's story.

Chuck Lutz and Virginia Kerschbaumer
Chuck Lutz and Virginia Kerschbaumer

When Chuck Lutz learned that he was in kidney failure and a living donor could save his life, he was hesitant and afraid to put anyone in his family at risk. However, his younger sister had other plans and decided to become his living donor. Virgina and Chuck underwent a living-donor kidney transplant at the UPMC Hamot Kidney Transplant Program and are both doing great.

» Read Chuck and Virginia's story.

George and Christine McClure
George and Christine McClure

It had been nearly 10 years since George McClure received a kidney transplant, until he started experiencing symptoms again. He was diagnosed with nephritis and was in need of another kidney transplant to survive. 

George and his wife, Christine, discovered that she was not a blood group match. With 96,000 people on the waiting list for a kidney transplant, their only option was the UPMC Live Donor Exchange program.

» Read George and Christine's story.

Kathy and Courtney Bost
Kathy and Courtney Bost

Kathy Bost of Pittsburgh and Courtney Bost of Hershey, Pa. are married to two brothers with polycystic kidney disease, a slowly progressing genetic disease that leads to other life-threatening illnesses.

When their husbands were in need of transplants, Kathy and Courtney wanted to help.

» Read Courtney's story.

» Read Kathy's story.

Jeanne Defibaugh
Jeane Defibaugh

After Jeanne’s husband received a life-saving living donor transplant from a family member, she was extremely grateful and happy to have her husband back. So, when she had the chance to return the favor and become a living donor for someone else, she didn’t think twice.

» Read Jeanne's story.

Jerry Ivory
Jerry Ivory

Jerry Ivory’s kidneys were larger than footballs when surgeons removed them — a result of a genetic illness called polycystic kidney disease. He had to quit work and even had problems breathing.

With his kidneys gone, dialysis was only a short-term solution, and no one in his immediate family was able to be a living donor. After more than three years on the kidney transplant waitlist, Steve Fields came into the picture. A mutual friend had previously introduced Jerry and Steve, a postal worker from Oklahoma. Steve turned out to be a donor match for Jerry.

Since the transplant, Jerry can now spend time with his family without extreme fatigue or dialysis. Steve has returned to his normal life — carrying mail 8 to 12 miles a day with no problem.

» Read Jerry's story.

John Oesterle and Cathy Bell
John Oesterle and Cathy Bell

As longtime friends, John Oesterle and Cathy Bell share an amazing relationship. In 2014, John learned that he needed a kidney transplant, just six years after receiving a double lung transplant at UPMC Montefiore. When Cathy offered to be his living donor, they found that she was a perfect match. John and Cathy now share more than ever.

» Read John and Cathy's story.

Randy Martini
Randy Martini

After Randy's nephrologist noticed his kidneys were slowly deteriorating, he came to UPMC to undergo kidney transplant evaluation. They found that his son, Nick, was a perfect living-donor kidney match for his father. Now, Randy is back to living a full life.

» Read Randy's story.​​

Shelley Trondle and Reggie Warford 
Shelley and Reggie

Marisa Warford never imagined that her friendship with Shelley Trondle would end up saving her husband’s life. When Reggie, Marisa’s husband, needed a life-saving kidney transplant, Shelley was by his side and decided to become his living donor, an experience that changed both of their lives forever. 

» Read Shelley and Reggie's story. ​

Tammy Merritt and Richard Beatty
Tammy Merritt and Richard Beatty

For Tammy Galiano Merritt, family has always been very important. So, when she learned that her uncle needed a kidney transplant, she immediately volunteered to be his living donor and was overwhelmed at the idea of being able to save the life of someone she loves.

» Read Tammy and Richard's story.

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