The Power of Someone to Save a Life

Michele Hagel didn’t always know that she had the power to save a life. But a Facebook post and a prayer changed that. Scrolling through her feed, she learned her fellow Medtronic employee, Mark Bubalo, had kidney failure. Grueling dialysis treatments kept him alive. He needed a kidney transplant. If a living donor stepped forward…

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The Gift of Living Kidney Donation: Paying it Forward

I’m honored to work with Andrea Deanovic Schmidt on the National Kidney Foundation Board, Serving Minnesota. Andrea is a fellow kidney transplant recipient, thanks to her heroic brother, Pete Deanovic. He didn’t hesitate to save his sister with his living kidney donation. Pete’s benevolence restored Andrea’s health, and she feels grateful every day. But there’s…

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A Lucky Man

Photo by KS KYUNG on Unsplash

I love interviewing extraordinary people. And Jeff Piotraschke definitely fits the bill. As part of my work with the National Kidney Foundation, I learned how Jeff’s kind heart led him to donate his kidney to his sister, Kathy. Selfless and family-focused, Jeff’s intention to improve Kathy’s health became the catalyst for his own self-improvement. And…

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For Goodness’ Sakes

Celebrating 50th on the 50 and promoting organ donor awareness

There are many ways to describe fifty-year-old Doobie Kurus. Pre-school teacher. Husband and father of three girls. Athlete and former Gopher football player. A chef who has raised over $250,000 for local charities. And a selfless kidney donor. It’s the last of this list, kidney donor, that has heightened his appreciation for the former. Humble…

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A Family Chain that Keeps on Giving

Family Chain

I first met Jeremiah Bartel through the National Kidney Foundation. After writing about him for an NKF Newsletter, my fondness for his entire family continued. So I pitched their remarkable solidarity to Gail Rosenblum at the Star Tribune. Well, she loves their story too (no surprise) and hired me to write it up for the…

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Sharing a Mission and Shining a Light

Sharing A Mission

As part of my work with the National Kidney Foundation, I have the privilege of interviewing and writing about people connected to this cause. And I say privilege, because I meet some darn impressive people. Case in point, two go-getter medical students, Saumith and Pavan (20 and 19 years old respectively). This dynamic duo is…

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Connections during Coronavirus

Connections During Coronavirus

As I’m home dodging COVID-19, I’m lucky that I like to write—keyboard tapping definitely fills time. And I’m delighted that the Founder of ModernWell, Julie Burton, published this story about my grateful-to-give-back Live Happy, Dammit! t-shirts on the ModernWell blog. Check it out, stay home, stay healthy, and stay happy!

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The Power of People to Help People

Power of People

September 1st is a noteworthy day for my husband and me. Because eight years ago on this very day, Dirk donated his kidney to a stranger to enable me to receive a gift from a 25-year-old man I’ve never met—an altruistic donor who wanted to share his extra kidney. When Dirk’s selflessness merged with the…

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