Grand Forks couple takes part in six-person kidney exchange

Forum News Service | Pamela Knudson

Tanya Knodle is surrounded by stylists at Salon Seva in Grand Forks wearing green ribbons for kidney disease awareness. Knodle is scheduled for a kidney transplant this week. photo by Eric Hylden / Forum News Service

GRAND FORKS, N.D. – Although he wanted to, Paul Voth could not donate a kidney to his girlfriend, Tanya Knodle, whose health has been failing in recent years. Their blood types are not compatible.

But they found another way that Knodle, who was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes at age 10, could receive the kidney she needed due to the diabetes-caused kidney disease she had.

The Grand Forks couple agreed to be part of a "paired exchange" program. Voth would donate his kidney to a stranger, whose donor would give a kidney to Knodle.

In mid-May, she and Voth completed tests to clear them medically for the exchange, she said.

"On July 2, we got a call that the surgery had been set for July 28. I was very shocked." Continue reading