Kidney disease, sadly, is something that happens all too often and in my particular case, it affected me, my mother and my two sisters. Four in one family is rare but indicative of how invasive polycystic kidney disease can be.
First my mom, Therese Froehle, went into renal failure. She received a transplant in April 1986 and is one of the longest-living kidney recipients in the Greater-Cincinnati area.
At the age of 38, my kidney stopped functioning. My husband John, my hero, generously donated his kidney to me the following year in 1998, becoming one of the earliest non-related spousal transplants in this area.
Next my sister, Ursula Hood, needed a new kidney. A dozen family members, friends and even strangers volunteered to be tested but her chances for a tissue match were slim. Her outlook was bleak. After almost three years of dialysis, she was matched with a donor in 2011 and received a kidney transplant.
Most recently my sister, Regina Froehle, was in need. She was on dialysis for nearly a year while still teaching her elementary school students. It was a mother of one of her students, Julie Luebbers PhD, who gave Regina a second chance at life in 2013.
How remarkable that each of us, four members in one family, were able to receive a life-changing kidney transplant. What are the odds? I do know one thing, we are and remain deeply grateful to our donors and their families. They are the heroes and angels in this world that touch our daily lives.
Monica Achberger, daughter, sister, wife, artist
– Monica Achberger, Sister, Kidney Recipient
– Ursula Hood, Sister, Kidney Recipient
– Regina Froehle, Sister, Kidney Recipient
– Therese Froehle, Mother, Kidney Recipient