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Family Knows the Impact of Kidney Transplantation Through Giving and Receiving

Lutheran Hospital’s kidney transplant program enabled wife to donate kidney to husband

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (Wednesday, April 9, 2014) – Lutheran Hospital’s kidney transplant program helps loved ones give the ultimate gift of life through living kidney donation. This generosity enables more renal patients like Tony Klepinger to live fuller lives because they have the benefit of living donors.

Organ transplantation is not a common procedure, yet for one Indiana family, a mother and son have both received kidney transplants within the past five years. Nephritis runs in the Klepinger family. Tony’s mother, Linda Klepinger, had a kidney transplant at Lutheran in 2009. Because her mother passed away from kidney failure at the age of 86, she was concerned for her children’s future health – and rightly so.

Tony was diagnosed with renal failure in 2000, and he managed his health well until it significantly declined in early 2013. Fortunately, more than one potential living donor stepped up including his sister, Christi, and his wife, Julie. Surprisingly, both were good matches. Because of their family history of kidney disease, it was decided that his sister should not donate in case she was ever in need of a transplant herself. Tony received one of his wife’s kidneys at Lutheran Aug. 6, 2013, when he was only 39 years old.  

“Transplantation has been a blessing for all of us,” Linda Klepinger said. “I am so grateful to my donor family. As a grandmother, I am able to do more things and I can enjoy my granddaughters.”

Neither Linda nor Tony had any significant signs of kidney disease besides fatigue. Each case was caught during annual visits to their primary care physicians.

Media are invited to meet the Klepinger family at their appointment Thursday morning at 9:30 a.m. at the Lutheran Transplant Center, and chat with them afterwards to learn more about how transplantation has changed their lives. The Klepingers have two young daughters and they have returned to their active lifestyles since last August.

One in nine Americans has kidney disease—that amounts to more than 26 million people in the U.S., according to the National Kidney Foundation.

Lutheran Hospital houses the only kidney and heart transplant programs in northern Indiana. Lutheran began performing kidney transplants in June 2007.

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