Sitting with Brenda and Kurt Jagler of Sheboygan, it’s easy to see that they have an ebb and flow to their lives. Their 39 years of marriage allows them to easily bounce around in their story, correcting each other’s details, adding an inside joke here and there, and tearing up over some of the more emotional memories. Through it all, their appreciation for the life and love they have received motivates them to give back and support so many others facing challenges.
Brenda was diagnosed with Lupus at 16 years old. Living in Sheboygan at a time when medicine and technology was evolving meant Brenda’s family had to go to out of state to be treated. Her medications were so intense that she missed a year of high school and was tutored at home. The doctors didn’t believe she would live past 20 years old and encouraged her to never have children. Despite an uncertain future, Brenda and Kurt got married and had two children, and soon will have four grandchildren.
For over 20 years, Brenda was sick on and off as her kidney function slowly declined. She finally began dialysis and was placed on the transplant waiting list, but developed a bleed in one of her kidneys. She spent a month in the hospital, even being put in an induced coma at one point. Brenda had to learn to walk again. Over a year went by until she was well enough to be put back on the transplant waiting list. However, she did not receive credit for her accumulated waiting time.
Frustrated by unanswered questions, Kurt began diligently researching, determined to find a way to help his wife. As fate would have it, a newsletter from the National Kidney Foundation of Wisconsin (NKFW) had recently arrived in the mail. He called the 800 number listed on the sheet. “When I finally called, I didn’t know what to do anymore,” Kurt stated.
He got connected with Cindy, the CEO of NKFW, who listened to his story. She pointed him in the direction of who to talk to at the transplant center in November. By December, everything was sorted out and in January, Brenda received her kidney transplant.
When the call finally came, it was strange to think that the transplant was finally happening. Brenda and Kurt rushed to Milwaukee where Brenda spent the night in the hospital and Kurt in his son’s dorm room, waiting for surgery the next morning. The transplant went well, and the team became close friends with Brenda and Kurt as they returned for check-ups.
Brenda and Kurt are grateful for the journey they went through, appreciating where they are now. “When you’re on dialysis, you see people that are much sicker than you,” Brenda said. “Someone would come in and the next day their leg was gone because they had diabetes. Many of the patients died. I learned that you’ve got to stay strong for your kids and for your husband. Every day, feeling better and having my family means the most to me.”
Cindy and the Jagler’s have met a few times over the years and Brenda and Kurt continue to support NKFW. At Brenda’s recent 60th birthday party, guests gave donations to NKFW in honor of the best gift Brenda could have ever received – a life-saving kidney. “We read about all of the great work NKFW does and it sounds exciting,” Kurt shared. “It’s an organization that’s helping people. We’ve been given so much, it’s anything we can do to give back. This is our cause.”
|Last modified 2015-12-07 21:02:18|
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