Bozeman High teen upbeat despite needing new kidney


Chris Munson has always been a pretty healthy kid.

A self-proclaimed “current events nerd,” he likes to read Cormac McCarthy, keep up on politics and issues, and wants to be a writer someday. But he also likes to hike, ski, fish, and enjoy Montana’s outdoors.

Chris even grew a healthy-looking beard in his freshman year at Bozeman High School, though he did shave it to compete on the Hawkers varsity speech and debate team. He was good enough to make the state tournament his sophomore year.

Yet flying home from a spring break trip to check out colleges back East, the 15-year-old didn’t feel great. Migraines and bouts of nausea were getting worse.

On Monday, March 20, he woke up with a severe headache and couldn’t keep aspirin down. His mom, Tamzin Brown, is grateful she didn’t tell him to just go back to sleep.

Instead she drove him from their home near Four Corners to Belgrade Urgent Care. His blood pressure measured at 235. The staff checked it twice. The machine wasn’t broken. Something was very wrong, the doctor said. You need to drive straight to the hospital in Bozeman.

At Bozeman Health, it took little more than an hour for scans and ultrasound tests to let doctors reach a diagnosis: End stage renal failure. Chris’s kidneys were shot — enlarged, scarred and functioning at only about 7 percent. Continue reading

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