Tom Ethen

First post: Jun 29, 2017 Latest post: Sep 25, 2017
When Tom was 14 years old, his mom (Renee Brand) took him in to the doctor to be checked out for some knee pain he was having.  Lab tests came back showing many irregularities.  It was determined that Tom was in kidney failure.  At the age of 16, he underwent his first surgery to remove his kidneys.  He was then put on dialysis 3 times per week at 4 hours each time for 6 weeks while he body healed from surgery.  On September 21, 1994, Tom received a kidney transplant. His mother was his donor.  Unfortunately, kidney transplants do not last forever and about 2 years ago, it was determined that his kidney function was down to about 20%. The plan was to wait as long as possible before another kidney transplant. Tom was been blessed to have gotten 23 years good years from his first transplant. Since his mother was his original donor, Tom's body has built up antibodies so another transplant from a direct family member would not be successful. Tom's option for his next transplant would be through a kidney paired donation program. Kidney paired donation (KPD) is a transplant option for candidates who have a living donor who is medically able, but cannot donate a kidney to their intended candidate because they are incompatible for whatever reason(s). Tom was lucky enough to have about 7 people step forward to be tested to see if they would qualify to be a part of the KPD program.  We were hopeful when the first call came in that there was a match in the KPD. Unfortunately, the chain was broken and that option fell through. In May 2017, Tom received a call that there was a deceased donor that was a match and he headed down to the University of Minnesota.  Again, this option fell through due to a cellulitis infection he had developed. He was prescribed antibiotics to clear up the infection and we prayed again for another option to come up. Tom started dialysis in May 2017. At the end of May, Tom was told there was another paired exchange match but it was a 20 way match so the possibility of it working out was a bit slim. A tentative transplant date was set for June 14th. The chain eventually dropped from a 20 way match down to an 8 way match and the transplant date was moved to June 21st.  We still remained hopeful. On June 16th, a final transplant date was set for June 29th.  Tom's girlfriend Lauren, who without hesitation went in to be tested as one of the living donors in the KPD program, ended up to be a match for someone else in the chain.  She will also be having surgery on June 29th to donate a kidney to someone in the paired chain. Our family can't thank her and everyone involved enough for choosing to give the gift of life! We would greatly appreciate any prayers for Tom, Lauren, the doctors, nurses and all of those involved in this paired exchange chain. We will provide updates on Tom and Lauren on this page as we receive them during the day Thursday.

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