Organ recipients reunite at state fair

The Des Moines Register | Joel Aschbrenner

Teddy Reid, 3, squirms in the arms of his mother, Sarah Reid, of Des Moines. Teddy received a kidney transplant last year and attended an organ transplant recipient reunion hosted by the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics Saturday at the Iowa State Fair. (Photo: Joel Aschbrenner/The Register)

Teddy Reid was 2 years old when he received a kidney transplant at the University of Iowa. Glenda Townsend was 67 when she received hers.

Organ transplant recipients of all ages and from all over the state met Saturday during a reunion hosted by the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics.

By mid-afternoon, more than 60 transplant recipients had stopped by the reunion. Few had met before but they all could find common ground.

"Nobody has really gone through the experience we have gone through," said Dawna Van Roekel, 41, of Ankeny, who received a heart transplant two years ago at the UI Hospitals and Clinics.

Reid, now 3, squirmed in his mother's arms Saturday. He's still small for his age and has trouble eating, but his body has accepted the new kidney. Continue reading