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Sister to give kidney to brother in Monday surgery

June 14, 2009
By SANDY MICKELSON, Messenger staff writer

Life as Mark Booth knows it will change Monday.

The 45-year-old Manson man will have a kidney transplant at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., ending an eight-year bout with polycystic kidney disease. The new kidney will come from his sister, Denise Stoneburner, of Coalville.

PDK runs in Mark's family. After a brother who lives in Ohio tested to be a donor, he found out he also had the disease. Stoneburner is the only one of seven living sisters and brothers who does not have the dominant gene for it.

Polycystic kidney disease is a genetic disorder characterized by the growth of numerous cysts in the kidneys, which filter wastes and extra fluid from the blood to form urine. In the United States, about 600,000 people have PKD, and cystic disease is the fourth-leading cause of kidney failure.

Although Booth is in stage five of kidney failure, he's never had dialysis, and that in itself is unusual.

"We've been handed so many miracles," Janet Booth said. "My husband has not had to have dialysis, by the grace of God. Denise is the only one without the disease, and she is a perfect match - six out of six."

Those matches are in blood typing, tissue matching and crossmatching.

For Janet Booth, the wonder of it all isn't even very surprising.

"I think it was written by God a long time ago that this is what was going to happen, this is how it was going to happen," she said. "We didn't want Mark to go on dialysis because we didn't want his immune system to break down further than it was. Why he didn't have to have dialysis has been a miracle from Day 1, and nobody can tell me anything different."

Each in their second marriage, Mark and Janet Booth have been together for nine years. He asked her father for her hand in marriage, and he asked for permission to take her name. His maiden name is Hurtt. Three years ago, he had to give up his work, and she's been caring for him.

Although surgery is scary, the couple is looking forward to him feeling better afterward. He'll be in the hospital for five days, then they'll move to a recovery home in Rochester. Only the patient and caregiver are allowed in the home, which has a pantry and kitchen area in a sterile environment.

With everything going on with her husband, Janet has one other thing on her mind - she wants people to know what a wonderful sister Denise is,

"Denise and her husband, Dan, are foster parents," she said. "And Denise will be out of commission for two or three weeks."

So, there's a little bit of care needed at this end of the surgery, too, but Janet says Mark's and Denise's family is a close family, and they'll be part of the recuperation process for sure.

And that's a beautiful thought.

So long friends, until the next time when we're together.

Sandy Mickelson wrote this column prior to taking a medical leave. She will be out of the office for several weeks.



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