Local nurse donates kidney to her dad

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Gina Ferguson, 39, of Chicago, a kidney transplant coordinator at Northwestern Memorial Hospital, recently found herself in the same situation as her patients, when she donated a kidney to her 68-year-old father, Dennis Ferguson, who was suffering from kidney failure. | Laura Brown; NMH Communications

As the heart transplant coordinator at Northwestern Memorial Hospital, nurse Gina Ferguson has helped many patients through the trauma of an organ transplant by counseling those waiting for or blessedly receiving the gift of life.

So when her dad, 68-year-old Dennis, who had long grappled with hypertension that destroyed his kidneys, needed an angel, he didn’t have to look far.

“They put me on the waiting list for a kidney donor, and there were 60,000 people on that list, and a five-year wait. My daughter said, ‘Don’t worry, Dad. I’m going to give you one of mine. I’m not going to let you go on dialysis,’” said the Lockport man.

That was last May, and nearly a year later, when doctors determined he could no longer wait, the father got a kidney on March 15 from his only child.

“The thought did not scare me. I was at peace with it from the beginning,” said the 39-year-old South Loop resident.

Both father and daughter were doing well Tuesday.

“I was more concerned about her throughout this. I’m 68 and she’s 39 with her whole life ahead of her,” the father said. “We never said good-bye to one another before the surgery. She just said, ‘Dad, I’ll see you in the afternoon.’ And at 6 that evening, she walked to my room. . . . I love her more than words can say.”

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