Daughter Donates Kidney for Father's Day - KFYRTV.COM - Bismarck, ND - News, Weather, Sports

Daughter Donates Kidney for Father's Day


Twenty-seven-year-old Mikayla Reis is the type of person who takes matters into her own hands. She doesn't talk the talk; she walks the walk. It's a trait she's inherited from her father.

"Action versus lip service. That's been the number one lesson," says Mikayla.

She repots deteriorating orchids to let them blossom again. And just as she's breathing life back into flowers, she'll be giving the gift of life to her father, Jeff Reis, whose kidneys began failing two years ago.

"The thought of looking at my father in, hopefully, 10, 15, 20 years down the road, and as he lay on his death bed and have any type of doubt, or any type of regret was not going to be something I could live with," says Mikayla.

She's donating her kidney to her father. When his donor backed out, she decided to step in. And it was a surprise to her father. 

"Words can't describe it. It's in the proof of what we do for one another that really outlines what kind of people we are. And, obviously, she's the best," says Jeff.

When a person's kidneys fail, the options are dialysis or waiting for an organ. But, by offering herself as a live donor, Mikayla is giving her father his greatest chance for a healthy life immediately.

"It's much better than dialysis. A person's life span can be longer when they're transplanted. They have more freedom in their life," says transplant coordinator Susan Markegard.

Susan Markegard is a transplant coordinator at Sanford Health. She says live donors are always encouraged, though the risks are two-fold.

"There's always the surgical risk. And then the risk of living with a transplant."

To help his body accept the transplanted kidney, Jeff will take immune suppressing medication for the rest of his life. And they both must maintain a strict health regimen. Knowing the risks,  Mikayla says her heart has decided.

"I've never felt more called on or protected to do something in my life. The ramifications of watching him go far outweigh any type of nerves or anxiety or fear for the future. I think love supercedes all of that."

Embarking on this journey has brought them closer together.

"Proud. Very proud of her. How do you pay something like that back? You don't. That's just the way it is," says Jeff.

"It's paying it forward," adds Mikayla. "I wouldn't be here if it weren't for him."

Mikayla and her father will undergo the live donor kidney transplant at Sanford Health on June 24th.



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