Sanford Health Celebrates Organ Donors and Recipients at Annual Picnic

Patients serve as examples of power of donation

FARGO, ND — Four years ago, Carol Barbknecht found out she needed a kidney transplant and would have to go on the transplant list.

“You know it’s kind of a scary thought,” Carol said. “It’s kind of a scary like, ‘do I dare go anywhere? Are they going to call me?'”

But just when she thought she would have to go on dialysis, Barbknecht’s prayers were answered: her husband Bill was a match.

“I was shocked,” Bill said. “But I was glad to do it and I’d do it again.”

When it came to choosing between going to the University of Minnesota or Mayo Clinic in Rochester, the couple said “no” to both.

They wanted to go to Sanford.

“We just felt the care would be super,” Bill said. “It turned out to be that way.”

They came to Sanford’s annual picnic, which honors living organ donors and recipients as often as they can now, because of the way they were treated at the hospital.

“Just fabulous,” Bill said. “Couldn’t have found a better hospital to have that done.”

Doctor Bhargav Mistry is one of Sanford’s transplant surgeons.

He said he’s thankful to see some of his patients again.

“The good thing I like about here is that we see many patients who have had transplants like 20 years ago, 15 years ago, whom I would not see otherwise in the hospital because they are doing well,” Dr. Mistry said.”It is such a joy to see them.”

Not every patient who needs a transplant is doing well though.

According to the United Network for Organ Sharing, there are currently 116, 858 people on the organ transplant list.

On average, 20 of those people die each day because they never get the organ they need.

It’s why Dr. Mistry reminds people they can be the answer to so many people’s prayers.

“Transplants are a lifesaving procedure,” he said. “There are many diseases which can only be cured by transplant. People have to be willing to be organ donors.”

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