Waiting for a transplant brings a mix of tears, smiles

THE NEWS-MESSENGER |  Craig Shoup

Mark Boukissen, owner of Whitey's Diner in Fremont, serves one of his many customers while he awaits a kidney donor. Boukissen has owned the diner for 36 years. (Photo: Craig Shoup/The News-Messenger)
FREMONT - Mark Boukissen, owner of the popular Whitey's Diner in Fremont and am assistant varsity girls basketball coach for Oak Harbor High School, said being positive is a key to surviving, despite living with only 7 percent kidney function.

"I could live with it the way it is for the rest of my life, but I do about eight hours a day of dialysis at home," Boukissen said. "I am not scared of the unknown. … I'm 60 years old. I've had a great life."

Boukissen acknowledges being scared when he first learned that his kidneys were failing and he needed dialysis. But while he is no longer afraid, he said he has learned to be patient after having difficulty finding a suitable match for a living donor and being on the waiting list for a deceased donor.

"I have O Positive blood, and that is pretty rare," Boukissen said. "My brother Rob got tested and my daughter Megan, but they were rejected."

Being the owner of a well-known Fremont diner has benefited Boukissen, as six patrons have expressed interest in testing to see if they match Boukissen. Continue reading
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