All in the Family: Iowa Man Donates Kidney to Mother-in-Law


Jon Prebeck got a sobering look at his mother-in-law's life with kidney disease when she came to stay with Jon and his wife. That's when he decided to see if he could help.

We think it's safe to assume that if there ever were any mother-in-law/son-in-law disgruntlements between Tarla Hoover and Jon Prebeck, they are now over — for good. In fact, we're guessing Jon can do no wrong after donating one of his kidneys to Tarla, Iowa's Globe Gazette reports. "How do I thank somebody for that?" she rhetorically asks reporter. "He definitely earned some points."

As the Globe Gazette reports, that grand gesture came after Jon got a sobering look at Tarla's life with kidney disease when she came to stay with Jon and his wife after the birth of their youngest child. Tarla spent her days helping with child care and other household chores and then retired to her room each night for eight hours of dialysis to treat the disease she'd lived with for more than 40 years. After a week, Jon had seen enough. "She's surviving but she's not really living," he tells the Globe Gazette. "I saw it firsthand, and I thought I would give it a shot."

Meaning that he would find out whether he could give her one of his kidneys. He logged onto the Mayo Clinic Transplant Center's website one night to begin the process. "If (my parents) would've raised me differently ... I wouldn't have done it," Jon tells the Globe Gazette. "(They) raised me if you can help someone, you should definitely take the time and do everything you can."

That meant following up his online inquiry at Mayo Clinic's Rochester campus to determine that he was indeed a match, the Gazette reports. "When my daughter called me, I just broke down," Tarla tells the Globe Gazette.

Jon says the physical act of having one of his kidneys removed was not his primary concern. "For me, the thing I was most nervous about was whether the kidney would work," he tells the Globe Gazette. "Hopefully it takes, hopefully her lifestyle is drastically better because of it."

Though it's only been a few months since the transplant, Tarla tells the Globe Gazette that's exactly what's happening. "I don't have words on how to thank him," she says. "I got my life back because of him. I wish there were more people like him in the world."

It's a compliment Jon passes on to the Transplant Center staff. "It's amazing what they do," he tells the Globe Gazette. "They treat the people who make the decision to donate really well."

If you'd like to experience that for yourself, you can (just as Jon did) start by learning more here. Then give us something to thank you for by sharing your comments below before using the handy social media tools to share this story with others.