Elgin teacher an advocate for organ donation

Kathy Turnquist (Turnquist family / HANDOUT)
Some people knew Kathleen "Kathy" Turnquist because she was a teacher and a building representative for the Elgin Teachers Association.

Others knew Kathy as an advocate for organ donation, having had two transplants herself.

Having survived for 30 years with Hepatitis C and two liver and a kidney transplant, Kathy died Tuesday following a six-month battle with cancer. She was 59.

Kathy had become an advocate for organ donation — appearing in an Illinois Secretary of State pamphlet, regularly walking in American Liver Foundation events and speaking to drivers education classes about signing donation cards, said her husband, Jerry Turnquist.

Kathy's first liver transplant occurred in 1987 when the procedure was still in its infancy, said her husband in a 2013 interview with the Courier-News.

The University of Chicago Hospital that performed her first liver transplant had only performed 100 or so at that time, and perhaps 500 had been done nationwide, Jerry said.

No donor could be found an in 1987 so Jerry turned to The Courier-News, television and radio stations and made a direct appeal to find a donor.At that time, lobe donations did not occur either — that did not happen until two years later, in 1989. Continue reading

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