By Kathy Miller - In August 2003, the Boone Country Connection featured a story by Dianne Sudbrock about Dolores Preis and her life-saving daughter-in-law, Peggy Preis.
In 2000, Dolores was diagnosed with kidney failure and began peritoneal dialysis at home. She would eventually need a kidney transplant. As they started the search for a kidney, Dolores soon learned that none of her ten children or two living sisters were matched to donate a kidney for her. Many other friends and relatives were tested, and still no matches.
A life of dialysis, while life-saving, is truly confining and takes hours for each treatment. It was keeping Dolores from truly living her life. Peggy wanted to help her mother-in-law, so having a deep faith in God, Peggy turned to prayer in hopes of finding the answer. She prayed, asking God to find someone compatible. She knew there had to be someone; little did Peggy know that someone was her.
Peggy heard a voice from within herself that told her, “If you test, you will match.” Peggy had a lot to consider if she were a match. She heard the voice again. She spoke with her husband and her family and after doing a lot of research; she knew what she had to do. Peggy learned that donating a live kidney versus waiting for a kidney from a deceased donor improves the chances of a successful transplant. Peggy told Dolores and her father-in-law, Rich, that she would get tested for compatibility but didn’t want to tell the family until they knew if she was a match.
On January 20, 2003, Peggy received the good news that she was a match. After months of extensive medical testing and a few other delays, the transplant finally happened on August 14, 2003. The transplant was successful, and Dolores and Peggy both made complete recoveries. Dolores has taken anti-rejection medication since the transplant, and will for the rest of her life. Dolores has had no other kidney issues, either. Peggy said it took her about a month to fully recover.
When Peggy had that tough decision to make 20 years ago, she decided that whatever extra time on earth Dolores could have, thanks to the transplant, it was worth it. Dolores recently celebrated her 90th birthday, and Peggy said, “I am not surprised that Dolores is celebrating 20 years as a kidney recipient. I believe it is because of her faith and the goodness in her heart. I knew God would protect us through and after the surgery. The family still needs Dolores' guidance.”
Dolores and Rich Preis's family gathered at Immaculate Heart of Mary in New Melle on August 27 to celebrate Delores and Peggy's 20th Anniversary of the kidney transplant. They also celebrated Dolores’ 90th birthday, her and her husband’s 72nd wedding anniversary in October, and a few more babies on the way too. Over 100 family members gathered to celebrate.
Peggy and Dolores share a special bond. They both said it is hard to describe the connection they feel. Dolores said, “There are no words to express your thanks to someone willing to give a part of their body to save your life.” Peggy shared, “Everyone is giving me accolades for what I did, but I cannot take the credit; that belongs to God. It was his idea. I just carried out his wishes.”
Peggy and Dolores both wanted to let the readers know the importance of being an organ donor. Thousands of people die or suffer needlessly each year due to a lack of organ and tissue donors. Please consider registering to donate, or for more information, visit www.donatelifemissouri.org
The Preis Family at the gathering at IHM on August 27 to celebrate.
Peggy (R) and Delores at the Preis Family Celebration.
Photo from the original story in the Boone Country Connection,
August 2003 issue.
Delores and Peggy with the article that was
in the St. Charles Journal in 2003.
Dianne Offerman, Delores' daughter, made “kidney” cookies
for everyone to take home.
A pillow given to Peggy from her sister-in-law Dianne Offerman.