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Giving family the gift of life | Pay It Forward

Beth Register donated her kidney to her cousin after learning she was a match, changing his life completely.

GALESBURG, Ill. — Brandon Shinn was diagnosed with end stage renal disease, or kidney failure, a few years ago. His kidney function rapidly decreased, forcing him to go on dialysis treatments for a year before he was able to get a kidney transplant. 

“I was hooked up to a machine in the bedroom for 10 hours a night. Hooking up to the machine at like 6 PM, 6:30 in order to be done with treatment by work the next day," Shinn said. 

When he needed to get on the transplant list, there was no true timeline on how long it could've taken to get him a kidney. Being put on the transplant list could mean years before you get an organ. 

“Average for my blood type was, 6-8 years," said Shinn. Doctors also gave him about 8 years for life expectancy while doing dialysis treatments.

His family members jumped to action to get tested to see if anyone was a match. Luckily his cousin, Beth Register, was a match and they immediately planned when they could get the surgery done. 

“I told him as soon as he said that he had to have somebody donate I was like well let me know where I got to sign up I’ll be first on that list to see if we match and stuff," said Register. 

The transplant happened in June 2023, and the surgery was success. 

“They woke me up and one nurse came around and crossed and held up the catheter bag and said look, look, look! We got urine! This is good!" said Register. Both Brandon and Beth are doing well. 

Brandon's life has completely changed. His family couldn't be more grateful to see him improve. 

“He gets to be up and out and alive after 6 o’clock! He doesn’t have be held up in the bedroom and so it’s great to be all together again all the time," said Ashley Shinn, Brandon's wife. “It’s just night and day different from the treatment to now. It’s a whole new lease on life and so it’s a whole new life," said Brandon. 

For Beth Register, it was an easy decision to give her cousin the gift of life. “He’s family. I love him. Even though he’s a turd, but I love him," said Register. 

Do you know someone that goes above and beyond for his or her community? News 8 and Ascentra Credit Union would like to help you Pay it Forward to them. Click here to nominate someone you know.

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