Father of 6, kidney donor receives transplant

The family of 38-year-old Joe Schmidt, who had donated a kidney to his sister in 2008, found...
The family of 38-year-old Joe Schmidt, who had donated a kidney to his sister in 2008, found him a kidney donor of his own to save his life.(Family via WBAY)
Published: Oct. 28, 2022 at 4:07 PM EDT|Updated: Oct. 28, 2022 at 4:11 PM EDT
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PULASKI, Wis. (WBAY/Gray News) - A Wisconsin man in need of a miracle kidney donation received a transplant Friday.

Joe Schmidt, a 38-year-old husband and father of six, learned about 18 months ago that his only kidney was failing.

He had donated a kidney to his sister in 2008. The siblings have a rare and genetic form of chronic kidney disease.

“When I donated to my sister I was 21, 22, and they did all the testing,” he said. “I was healthy. They didn’t know about this autoimmune one.”

The family took to social media with the “Save Our Daddy” campaign to share Schmidt’s story in hopes someone would volunteer to be his donor.

Joe Schmidt's family launched the "Save Our Daddy" campaign to find a kidney donor.

Schmidt’s wife posted on Facebook that they received a call from the Mayo Clinic on Thursday saying they had a young donor kidney for Joe.

“We quickly packed our six kids and dog, dropped off with friends and grandparents, and raced to Minnesota full of emotions,” Angela Schmidt wrote.

After a series of tests, the family was informed the kidney was a good fit for him and they were ready for surgery. It was a success.

Joe Schmidt thanked WBAY reporter Emily Matesic after the surgery for sharing his story.

“We got the call yesterday and got a cadaver kidney. Surgery went well and the kidney seems to be working!” he said via text. “I can’t thank you enough, this would not have happened if it wasn’t for all the prayers we received over the last few days!”