Brother’s kidney donation for sister derailed after anomaly

Livestream and VOD for Dakota News Now
Published: Dec. 13, 2021 at 4:47 PM CST
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (Dakota News Now) - At age 17, Brandy Louwagie and her family discovered she had a kidney disease, and one day someone would change her life. 20 years later, the impending decision arrived to look for a new kidney; but, she did not have to look far for a perfectly compatible donor as her younger brother Bo Bearshield stepped forward. Bo had a feeling this day would come, the image materialized in his mind as a nine-year-old when he first learned of his sister’s ailment. He did not completely understand at the time, but years later he would make an enormous decision.

“You can’t give somebody anything better,” a teary-eyed Brandy said. “I would do the same for him and he knows that. That’s what family is for.”

Everything seemed to fall into place, the doctors said they were perfect matches, and could not have been better if they were identical twins. Heading into the surgery both were very positive until a minor detail allowed a strand of doubt to creep into their minds. Doctors said there was a 99.9% chance of success meaning there is a small chance something could happen.

Unfortunately, the .1% chance of something happening became reality.

Brandy’s body clotted overnight and she had to go into emergency surgery the next night to repair the kidney, but it never worked. Brandy now needs a new donor before beginning dialysis. It is a very selective and private qualification process, and not knowing if any donors have been found can be unnerving. She does not let that affect life at home, but she knows her kids and husband worry.

“They’ll say, Mom what does a kidney do? So I know they think about it,” she added.

Despite time being critical and an arduous journey ahead, there is a good chance she can get through this. She says if there is any family that can get through this it is hers.

Her brother Bo has recovered since the surgery and says despite the outcome, donating is huge for families. Through Avera, he was able to gather the information he needed to make an informed decision before undergoing surgery on April 28.

Copyright 2021 Dakota News Now. All rights reserved.