Giving of oneself: One Cayuga County family knows the importance of organ donations


AUBURN — Debbi Dahl Purcell gave her brother one heck of a 53rd birthday present — a kidney.

"She wanted to make sure it was a birthday present that I didn't forget!" Gary Dahl said. Gary, arms crossed tightly, started to laugh.

"She also told me it was my last birthday present!" He giggled.

And when they were across the hall in a New York City hospital about to go through the procedure, Gary and Debbi were still making each other laugh.

"We were joking that there was a string tied between the two of us going back and forth between the ORs, and if he angered me, I was going to yank it (the kidney) back," Debbi said.

She and Gary both laughed.

The Dahl family loves to tease and joke, but Gary wasn't laughing as much in 2011, when so many things were going wrong. His kidneys weren't doing well, and when doctors were running tests, they found Gary had problems with his heart. He went through a triple bypass surgery, causing more delays with the kidney testing. Continue reading
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