Kirn Wildhaber


My story started in October 2008. To date it includes two living donors, keeping me alive through kidney transplants. In 2008, I was not officially diagnosed with an accurate cause of my kidney failure. Either way, a transplant from my brother-in-law, my wife's brother, saved my life. I spent 9 months on dialysis before completing full process of the matching, evaluation, and scheduling of the transplant. I was 29 and my donor was 24. My brother-in-law was an excellent match for me. The transplant date of May 19, 2009 was set and he and I made speedy recoveries. His youth allowed him to be released just two days after the surgery. His gift supported my life and allowed me to build a family with 3 kids and continue on building my life.

In September 2017, I came back from a fishing trip to Canada with a virus. This virus stuck with me for around 3 weeks and required a 2 week stay in Barnes-Jewish Hospital. Doctors expected for me to make a full recovery with minimal effects on my transplanted kidney. Three weeks after my hospital stay, an ultrasound of my kidney showed very different results. After finding out my kidney was beyond treatment, I was back on the list and searching for a life-saving donor. This proved be much harder looking outside the family. I had less than a handful of people willing to go through the testing. One of those potential donors was my middle child's preschool teacher. She was willing to be evaluated in early 2018, but she just had her second child months before the initial evaluation. She had to wait before being a donor because of her body healing and taking care of her baby. These were guidelines of the transplant process. With a limited number of donor options, she waited through the required period and went through the testing and evaluation period again in early 2019. Amazingly, she felt like she was going to match all along and was determined to be the life saving donor. Testing proved this to be true and the transplant was set for June 18, 2019. I cannot begin to thank my donors, doctors, and all organizations involved in the transplant process. Without the giving of the kidneys, all of the coordination of time and effort, and a successful medical team my future would not be possible. All of this process truly does give me, my donors, and my family a new respect for life. It also builds so much hope for what is capable in life when someone or even something requires saving. Even though it can never be enough in my eyes, I continue to say, "Thank you!"