By Denise Peterson, Publisher
At Christmas time in 2012, Chad and Audra Forst, of Gibbon were praying for a miracle. Today, little more than a year later, they thank God every day that He delivered.
One year ago, on January 16, 2013, their son Samuel, now 9-year-old, received a new kidney. The road to get here has been long and difficult.
Sam was born with Polycystic Kidney Disease. The condition showed up on an ultrasound before he was born. Chad and Audra were told that things would go one of two ways for him. Either his kidneys wouldn’t function at all when he was born, or he’d need to have a transplant early in life. Either way, Chad and Audra knew they had a long road ahead of them.
In mid-December of 2012, Sam’s condition worsened, and he began dialysis three times a week to hold him over until a donor could be found. Initial tests had indicated that Audra would be a viable donor for him, but more extensive testing showed that wasn’t feasible, so the call went out to friends, family, communities, and complete strangers.
The response was overwhelming, and a donor was found in Chad’s co-worker, Stephanie Steffensmeier. Though they worked together, Chad and Stephanie didn’t know each other well. But Steffensmeier felt compelled to answer the call.
On January 16, a transplant team at the University of Minnesota performed the surgery that changed Samuel’s life, and tied the Forst and Steffensmeier families together in a very special way.
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