A brief history and how I got here…

My name is Dave Finsterwald and in 1971, when I was 11 years old, I was diagnosed as a Type I Diabetic, my Mother cried for 2 days. For almost 30 years I did pretty well maintaining my blood sugar levels but my kidney function diminished over time and in 1999 my function got to the level that I could not continue to function without dialysis to cleanse my blood and remove excess fluid from my body.

This was the start of a 3 day a week, 4 hour a day routine at the dialysis center. I took all the tests to get on the UNOS Transplant Registry and in May of 2002 I received a Kidney/Pancreas transplant from a cadaveric donor. My transplant surgery was performed by the Duchossois Center for Advanced Medicine at the University of Chicago.

I cared for my transplanted organs for 18 years (well above the national average) until I was hit with a virus that affects organs after prolonged use of large amounts of anti-imunosuprescents. At the beginning of 2020 I suffered from an infection and in February I found myself once again on dialysis and the 3 day a week, 4 hour a day routine. My pancreas continues to function today and I no longer have the virus.

Any blood type will work…

I am blood type O positive which means I am a universal donor but can not receive an organ from anyone other than an O donor. BUT that should not deter you from being a donor if that is in your heart to do so. Today a donor of a different blood type can donate in what is called a Paired Exchange Program.

UPDATE:  On September 9th, 2022 I received a viable kidney from a cadaveric donor.  I did not know the donor but God Bless his decision to save lives should he meet an unfortunate demise.  For him and his family I shall be forever grateful.  The impact on someone’s life such as mine, can not be measured.  Dialysis, while a life saving procedure is an enormus taxation on the bodies system.


Transplant recovery times have been reduced significantly and today a living donor typically only spends two days in a hospital. The surgery most often is just laparoscopic and minimally invasive. There is no cost to you for any medical expenses, this is all covered by my insurance.