Lori grew up in Waterloo Region, mainly in the Kitchener and Cambridge area. She has a very loving and caring family, married to Don Kraemer and a proud mother of three wonderful children, twins, named Meghan and Kaylie and a son, Nathan. Lori was diagnosed with kidney disease at a young age. The mother of three went into renal failure in August 2010. It was related to a condition diagnosed in the early 1990s called polycystic kidney disease, which is when cysts form on the kidneys.
Don Kraemer wanted to give his wife, Lori, the kidney she so desperately needed. But his kidney wasn’t a match. So the couple took another route. Rather than have Lori wait years on a transplant list, they decided to try to get a kidney from a live donor another way.
They registered with the living donor paired exchange program, which lets potential donors and recipients who are incompatible find a match with another donor/recipient pair.
The Kraemers waited about seven months for a match.
April 2013, the Kraemers underwent their own surgeries: Lori to receive a kidney from a stranger, and Don to donate one of his kidneys to an unknown person on the living donor registry. “I donated a kidney so that a complete stranger could have a second chance at life and, in the process, helped allow their loved one to help save my wife’s life in a paired exchange.
“I’ve been termed as a hero to two people — the fact I gave an organ to a complete stranger and doing that, it helped another person to donate to my wife,” he said.
Lori Kraemer was on dialysis for 2 ½ years before getting her new kidney. She had been told to expect a wait of four to five years for a kidney from the deceased donor list. She was exhausted, couldn’t sleep or keep water down, and suffered from severe itching. Ending up in an intensive care ward “was a major wake-up call,” she said. She recalls thinking, “I don’t want to die. I want to live for my family. I don’t want my husband to be widowed.”
To read Lori and Don’s story, visit the Kitchener-Waterloo Record at: http://www.therecord.com/news-story/2625425-kitchener-man-donates-kidney-to-stranger-to-help-ailing-wife/
The living donor paired exchange registry is a partnership between Canadian Blood Services and transplant programs across the country. For more information on the paired exchange program visit: http://www.blood.ca/CentreApps/Internet/UW_V502_MainEngine.nsf/resources/Legal_and_privacy/$file/NoticeToDonorsLDPE.pdf