Austin woman receives kidney donation from her bowling partner’s sonPublished 6:23pm Wednesday, January 29, 2014
For the last 45 years, Austin resident Jeneielle Soucek has gotten together with Kathy Morse to go bowling on most Tuesday nights.
But Soucek nearly had to give up bowling and a lot more when she was diagnosed with Polycystic Kidney Disease last year. Soucek, who is 69 years old, was told to begin looking for a living donor as the waiting list for a kidney is about five years.
Luckily for Soucek, her bowling partner had a son named Dwayne Morse, who was more than happy to see if he was a match. Morse, who is 50 years old, was chosen as a suitable kidney donor and on May 10 of 2013 his kidney was transplanted to Soucek and she began to feel better almost immediately after the operation.
Since the operation took place near Mother’s day, Soucek’s daughters told her that they could never come close to the gift that Morse gave her for the holiday.
“It’s good for me that he was here,” Soucek said of Morse. “It was a relief. I was getting in pretty tough shape. I was getting tired. If I wouldn’t have got it, I would be on dialysis.”
Morse remembers seeing Soucek when he learned she had PKD and he could tell something wasn’t right with her.
“She was white as a ghost and very frail. You could tell that there was something serious,” Morse said.
Morse has known the Soucek family his entire life and he considers them to part of his family. When he found out that he was a match, he made his decision quickly and the procedure was done at Mayo Clinic.
“When I learned that I was a suitable donor, I didn’t even have to think twice about it,” Morse said. “I never had any worries or concerns. I think it’s the best place in the world for medicine.”
Morse was told that he could back out of being a donor at any time and there would be no questions asked, but he felt comfortable with it and he didn’t have any concerns. Soucek said her husband Jim was worried about Morse’s health, throughout the ordeal. Jim became friends with Morse’s dad and Kathy’s husband, George in high school. George and Kathy and the Soucek’s have remained friends for 50 years.
Soucek has bowled with Kathy in 25 national tournaments and 37 state tournaments. Soucek still bowls with Kathy when she’s not in Arizona for the winter, and it’s still just as entertaining as it always was.
“It’s been a lot of fun. We’ve had a lot of fun over the years,” Soucek said. “We keep at it. We’re not as good as we used to be, but we’ve had good times over all of the years.”
Morse said if it was possible, he’d donate his kidney again and he’s glad he was able to help out a long-time family friend. He still makes it a point to visit Soucek when he can and he’s glad that she’s in much better shape than now than she was.
“It was a good experience and you could tell right from the start that it was going to work for her. In that first week, you could tell she was much improved,” Morse said. “If people have an opportunity they should try it. With a living donor, you have a much better chance [of success]. People shouldn’t be afraid of it.”
According to MedicineNet.com, PKD is a genetic disorder that affects approximately 600,000 people in the United States. About one half of people with the most common type of PKD progress to kidney failure.