Earlier this month, we told you about 11-year-old Anna Post, from Birmingham, Ala., who was one of two patients on the receiving end of a paired kidney transplant at Mayo Clinic in December. We also hinted at the story behind the person who gave that kidney to Anna, even though he'd originally set out to donate it to his cousin, Judy Thorson, age 51. Now we can bring you the full story, thanks to the Cresco (Iowa) Times Plain Dealer.
In a story last week, the Plain Dealer detailed how Shelby Courtney made it his personal mission to do whatever needed to be done to give a kidney to his cousin after learning that she needed a transplant. "Other donors came forward but just weren’t a match,” Thorson tells the paper. “So, Shelby stepped forward … bound and determined to be my donor.”
That determination hit a couple small snags. First, Courtney and Thorson learned that their "antigen genetic match was a ‘zero genetic match,’ but the antibodies were a good match.” The antigen issue, thankfully, wasn't a deal-breaker. Then, even though Courtney was in good overall physical shape, doctors suggested he lose "5 to 10 pounds." That was all he needed to hear, according to Thorson. "He immediately started working out even more and also changed his diet," she says. "He was determined to do whatever it took to donate his kidney to me.”