Craig and Vicki Dyer Rockford, Illinois Craig and Vicki Dyer have much in common, far beyond their 48-year marriage. They both enjoy the outdoors, joined the Rockford Evening Lions Club in Illinois 25 years ago and have served as the club’s president. Still, when Craig needed a kidney, it was a surprise when Vicki turned out to be a perfect genetic match. A Match Made in Heaven Craig: I was diagnosed with IGA nephropathy, a disease in which a certain type of protein builds up in the kidneys. My kidney function had dropped to 13 percent. I needed dialysis or a transplant, and a transplant is better in terms of quality of life and longevity. Vicki: I volunteered to be tested at Mayo Clinic, where Craig was being treated. It has a “give a kidney, get a kidney” program. The assumption was that I would give a kidney to someone else, and then Mayo Clinic would find a kidney for Craig. As it turned out, I was a perfect genetic match for Craig. Craig: One of my doctors said, “If you were in Times Square in New York and picked someone out at random and you were a match— that’s about the odds of your spouse being a match.” Gratitude Craig: At first, I had mixed emotions. Even with all the testing, I was concerned for Vicki. It’s a fairly major surgery. But following that was a lot of gratitude. Generally, it’s about a five-year wait for a donation from a living kidney donor. I was 68. Once you hit 70, they discourage the surgery. Vicki: We had the operation in January, and the staff at Mayo Clinic was just amazing. After a month, we came home. Donating a kidney is such a wonderful way to save a life, whether it’s a relative or someone else. Bouncing Back Craig: The recovery has gone smoothly for both of us. I’m feeling a lot better than I was a year ago. Our Lions club just had its annual dart tournament in May. Some players have to wear goggles that simulate impaired vision. It’s a lot of fun, and dyed-in-the-wool dart players really love it. Vicki: Our lives are going on pretty normally. However, I have always been a better water drinker than Craig. I keep reminding him, “Take good care of that kidney of mine and drink water. It did enjoy more water than what you’re used to giving it.” Do you know a Lion who you think has a great story or deserves a bit of recognition? Email us a brief description of the Lion and the reason you’re making the nomination to firstname.lastname@example.org. Please include “One of Us” in the subject line.
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