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Inside KELOLAND: Organ Donation

June 10, 2007, 10:30 AM by Karen Sherman

Organ donation offers hope and life to people who often have long-term health problems. 

On Monday June 4, University of South Dakota president Jim Abbott donated a kidney to a co-worker, but there are still more than 96,000 Americans waiting to receive lifesaving organ transplants. And a new name is added to the list of Americans waiting for a transplant every 13 minutes. 

Abbott had to pass a series of tests before he was approved to be a living donor and give a kidney to USD's Chief Diversity Officer, Bruce King. 

King has suffered from end-stage kidney failure for the past two years. Until the transplant, he had been using dialysis four hours a day, three times a week to cleanse and detoxify his blood. But because Abbott agreed to give an organ to King, and the two men turned out to be a match, King now has a new kidney that is said to be functioning properly.

The process started in early May, when sources say Abbott first discussed the idea with his wife. The family felt a personal connection to King's story because Abbott's father-in-law and brother-in-law each had kidney cancer. The couple agreed to move forward and Abbott sent in a blood test for consideration. After two full days of tests, including blood work and physical and psychological exams, Abbott learned he was a match. 

The operation took place on Monday last week. King will stay in a post-operation house with his family for a few weeks and Abbott is expected to return to Vermillion, although he'll be taking the rest of June off to recover. 

Donors generally experience some pain and discomfort after the operation as their bodies adjust to life with just one kidney. 

For more information on organ donation, click here.

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