When John Ivanowski's kidney began to fail and he needed a transplant, the most likely donor match was his daughter, Delayne. But Ivanowski would have no part of her.
While his daughter didn't understand why he was so adamant about not taking her kidney, Ivanowski said his reluctance was because of a previous loss the family had.
"She's the only thing I got," Ivanowski said.
Fifteen years earlier, Ivanowski's son Dawson died of cancer, so the thought of his daughter going into surgery, even if it wasn't a risky operation, was more than he could bear.
Fortunately, a donor stepped forward — an anonymous living donor who also just so happened to be living in his basement.
Unbeknownst to her father, Delayne Ivanowski had spent the past year working with the transplant center at Barnes Jewish Hospital in St. Louis. She got tested and went through the protocols to prepare for donation, deceiving her father until the very last minute.
When he found out what his daughter had done, Ivanowski said he didn't know how to feel.
"I started crying," he said, adding that it was "hard to process everything."
Anger and gratitude have never been intertwined like they were in that moment, Ivanowski explained, but as time has gone on, the gratitude has long overtaken the anger.
Delayne Ivanowski said she's just glad she was able to save her father.
"I would do it over and over and over again if it meant saving his life and having him here with me," she said.
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