Closings and delays

Girl donates kidney to classmate

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DES MOINES, Iowa — It’s a lifesaving gift thousands of people across the country wait for every day. One Iowa State graduate student didn’t have to wait long for the lifesaving organ transplant, thanks to the kindness of a classmate.

At first, Kate Dostart just thought she was feeling the effects of stress from graduate school, but she soon couldn’t ignore symptoms of fatigue and loss of appetite.

“In January of last year, I ended up in the ER, and I was diagnosed with IgA Nephropathy, which is a kidney disease, and I didn’t realize I had it,” she said.

She had stage five chronic kidney disease. She immediately went on dialysis and then started looking for a kidney donor.

“It was amazing to see all the people who asked me about looking into how to become a donor,” Kate said.

Leslie Day was in Peru when she saw Kate’s post about her illness on Facebook. The two had met at Iowa State while working on their master’s degree in architecture.

“I would definitely say we were friends, but we didn’t spend tons and tons of social time together,” Kate said.

But, Leslie felt a calling to give Kate one of her kidneys.

“My dad passing the same day she was diagnosed. He actually died from kidney failure. Kind of for me, God saying, do for Katherine what you can’t do for your dad,” Leslie said.

On Sept. 14th, the women had their surgeries at Iowa Methodist Transplant Center.

Leslie said the operation was well worth it.

“I don’t think I could continue my life knowing that she’s needing something that I have, and I’m just not going to give it to her. Why not.”

More than 100,000 people across the country are waiting for a kidney transplant. Dr. Qasim Chaudhry said a living donor is really the best option.

“We know if we get a living donor kidney that kidney will last 20 years. That’s the half-life of a living donor kidney. The half-life of a deceased donor kidney is approximately 8 to 10 years.”

Kate is thankful she found a match with Leslie.

“I know some people say that I did something for her, but I think this whole experience has done so much for me,” Kate said.