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By Teddie Rae Herman

MISSION — Sanford Transplant Center and Sinte Gleska University recently collaborated to educate the public about kidney disease and transplants.

Jessica Utecht-Whillock, transplant clinical care, did an overview of a kidney's functions, diseases causing kidney failure, prevention, kidney transplant, and kidney donation. 

Wayne Bear Shield, a transplant recipient, spoke about his own experiences, and when he first discovered he had diabetes. 

Though initially in denial, Bear Shield described his symptoms and how fast his diabetes progressed, until he knew he needed a transplant.

His son voluntarily stepped up and offered one of his kidneys to save his father’s life.

Bear Shield had the audience captivated with some even tearing-up as he told his very personal story.

"Get yourself regularly checked,” Bear Shield said. “Even if you think you're a warrior."

Chief Duane Hollow Horn Bear, SGU Lakota Studies, a guest speaker, spoke on Lakota traditional beliefs related to organ donation, and that there is nothing forbidding it. 

Also on hand to give flu shots was Anna Thompson and Deanne Eastman of Rosebud IHS Hospital; Bill Wonnenberg, IHS dietician; Steve Leader Charge and Steve Brave, Rosebud CHR program; and SGU nursing and LPNs who checked blood pressures. 

Future classes: "Davita Dialysis: Kidney Smart is the Smart Start" will be held Nov. 13 and Dec. 11, at 1 pm at the Allied Health office.

For more information, call Denise at 856-8256 or 208-7113.

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