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JoAnn and Suzanne’s story in the Daily Southtown

I write my PKD story on the 14th anniversary of my kidney transplant! I have two sisters, no brothers. I come from a LARGE Irish Catholic family (all raised in Chicago). Like other PKD families, many of my family members have been afflicted (five generations).

My mother and my younger sister both had transplants. I was told I did not have PKD. However, I collapsed in kidney failure and started dialysis within 24 hours. I knew my wait on the transplant list would be long! We all know the odds of a family member not having PKD is 50-50. In my family, though, our Irish genes are strong and so is the PKD gene. My “Diamond in the RUFF” was my own sister, Suzanne Ruff! She did not have PKD but hated hospitals, needles and even the sight of blood! But “She did it!” Suzanne saved my life and gave me the opportunity to see my daughters get married, and the birth of my grandsons.

More importantly, she made it possible for me to volunteer with the PKD Foundation to advocate, educate, bring awareness and support all PKD patients, family members and caregivers in every way possible! #ENDPKD