Stedmans say ‘Yes, I will’ to organ donation

Daily Jefferson County Union News |  Amy Wunderland

DONATE LIFE — Dave Stedman of Fort Atkinson made organ tissue donation awareness his top priority after learning his wife, Cheryl, needed a kidney transplant in 2010. From speaking at driver’s education classes to dressing as UW Health’s organ tissue mascot, Dottie the Donor Dot, Dave hopes Cheryl’s story will inspire others to consider organ tissue donation.

Studying a family photo on the wall, I find it hard to believe the woman sitting across from me is the same one smiling from inside the frame.

The Cheryl Stedman I first met in mid-October is 70 pounds lighter, leaving behind little resemblance of the snapshot hanging from the family room of her Fort Atkinson home.

Cheryl was diagnosed with Lupus in 1989. For 26 years, she learned to live with the disease until about five years ago, when her body could take no more.

Lupus is a chronic, autoimmune disease that can damage or attack any part of the body. In Cheryl’s case, it was her kidneys.

In February 2010, Cheryl began dialysis as her kidneys began shutting down. Dialysis typically is required when the kidneys’ protein production is under about 7 percent, but by the time Cheryl started, she was at about 4 or 5 percent. Continue reading
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