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Chuck Jorud had lived with type 1 diabetes for more than 20 years when his kidneys declared, “enough.” He started dialysis and was evaluated for a kidney transplant.
“I had young kids at the time and decided that if I was going to have a transplant, I wanted the best,” says Chuck. That led him to Mayo Clinic, where Thomas Schwab, M.D., a nephrologist, suggested he consider a combined kidney-pancreas transplant, which held the promise of a diabetes-free life.
“I was blown off my feet. I didn’t even know that existed,” says Chuck, who was placed on the transplant list. And though it likely meant a much longer wait, he decided only to accept organs that were a perfect six out of six antigen match.
Meanwhile, dialysis began taking over Chuck’s life. The three- to four-hour treatments left him drained, eventually forcing him to quit working. What little energy he had he saved for his children.
After five years on the transplant list, “I’d had it with dialysis,” says Chuck, who told Mayo he’d accept organs that were a less than perfect match. A few weeks later, he received a life-changing call. Organs were available — and they were a perfect match.
“There’s no comparison between life before and after transplant,” says Chuck, who has returned to work — and life — full-time since his surgery in March 1999. “Sky’s the limit once you regain your health after surgery.”
He encourages anyone facing an organ transplant to consider coming to Mayo Clinic.
“Other places probably have the ability to give the same kind of care, but they don’t take the time to provide it,” says Chuck, who lives in Massachusetts. “Everyone, from the doctors to the door attendants, remembers you and treats you with the utmost respect. Mayo truly puts the patient first.”