One Family, Three Kidney Transplants

During April’s National Donate Life Month we are highlighting some of our own caregivers’ organ donation stories. Mother and son Danette and Dillon Roundy share their family’s story – which includes three kidney transplants.

Danette is the Gift Market Manager at the hospital. Her son, Dillon, is the Lead Tech and Buyer for Central Sterile Processing. Danette’s late husband Joel had chronic kidney disease. He got his first kidney transplant in 1991 and was able to live with his donor kidney for 24 years.

“If it wasn’t for that transplant, I wouldn’t be here,” Dillon said. 

Joel was on dialysis for six years while waiting for a new kidney. The family said it was extremely stressful being on the transplant list. While you may get a call that an organ is available, you don’t know if it’s a match. The first three times they were called, Joel didn’t get the kidney and had just about given up hope when they got the call again.

“I’ll never forget that call,” Dillon said.

The kidney was a match, and the transplant took place. After a rejection scare which required additional time in the hospital, the family was able to come home. One of the first things Joel wanted was chocolate since he couldn’t eat it on hemodialysis. 

Joel Roundy with a German chocolate cake his son Dillon made for him celebrating an anniversary of his kidney transplant.  

“I brought him peanut m&m’s and chocolate ice cream and Dillon made him a German chocolate cake with a kidney on top,” Danette said. 

Joel’s second kidney transplant gave him a new lease on life, but sadly, he passed away in 2022 from cancer. 

The Roundy’s oldest daughter Jordan inherited the same kidney disease her dad had. When her kidneys failed, she went on peritoneal dialysis and got on the transplant list. Her younger sister Betsey’s kidney was a perfect match, and the transplant took place on August 10, 2023. 

Danette Roundy, left, with her daughters Jordan and Betsey during Jordan's transplant surgery in 2023.

“She is doing amazing,” Danette said. “It’s incredible how far medicine has come from my husband’s first transplant to his second, to Jordan’s transplant now.” 

The Roundy’s have been able to share their experiences to help others. In fact, Dillon’s father-in-law underwent a kidney transplant last year, and the families were able to lean on each other for support. They urge everyone to learn more about organ donation and register to become donors. As Dillon shared, if his father hadn’t received that first kidney transplant, Dillon wouldn’t be here today. And life is always something to celebrate.  

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