Transplant patient's family: 'Every year forward we're going to be celebrating this gift' - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

INSIDE>> Previous Coverage

Transplant patient's family: 'Every year forward we're going to be celebrating this gift'

Posted: Updated:
  • Also on KHQ.comMore>>

  • Family waits for organ donor: 'For me, it’s the ultimate selfless act'

    Family waits for organ donor: 'For me, it’s the ultimate selfless act'

    Friday, June 5 2009 11:33 PM EDT2009-06-06 03:33:49 GMT
    SPOKANE, Wash. - Nate Gunderson is 31 years old. His wife is beautiful. His 14-month-old daughter is adorable. He has a great job. He works out regularly and he needs a new heart.>>
    SPOKANE, Wash. - Nate Gunderson is 31 years old. His wife is beautiful. His 14-month-old daughter is adorable. He has a great job. He works out regularly and he needs a new heart. A bacterial infection is eating a hole in his heart. Doctors aren't sure how he got it, but they know how to fix it: a transplant. His family spends every day hoping a donor match can be found. Without a new heart, his wife says death is certain. >>

SPOKANE, Wash. - The Fourth of July isn't traditionally a time for exchanging gifts, but a family from western Washington says they got the greatest gift of all this year: life.

Nate Gunderson's family says an organ donor restored their independence after Nate waited 50 days on a transplant list for a new heart.

Follow Genevieve's blog 'Nate and His Troubled Heart'


"I don't know how much longer we could have waited truthfully," said his wife Genevieve.

Nate Gunderson, 31, was the picture of health before his family said a bacterial infection nearly killed him earlier this year. Doctors said a new heart was his only option.

His family turned his story into a drive to increase the number of organ donors across the country hoping potential donors would realize anyone could be in need.

"We never thought this would happen," said Genevieve in early June.  "He ate all his vegetables, he drank muscle milk every morning. He was the picture of health."

Doctors walked into Nate's hospital room on the evening of July 4 and told him to stop eating.

They were instructions the family had heard before.

The family had been through a dry run twice before this spring when potential donors were found. The previous times yielded organs that were less than a perfect match, but this time, it was different. Nate's operation started hours later.
The Donate Life Today Registry is a confidential database of donation wishes to be carried out at the time of death. 


"Thank God this gracious soul checked the box on her driver's license that said she wanted to be an organ donor because she saved Nate's life," said Genevieve.

Medical policies prevent the family from knowing where the heart is from, but they believe it was from a female donor outside the area.

More than 100,000 people across the country are waiting for a transplant of some kind, according to the Organ Procurement and Transplantation web site.

  • Most Popular StoriesMost Popular StoriesMore>>

  • Court documents offer disturbing details in Spokane infant's death

    Court documents offer disturbing details in Spokane infant's death

    Saturday, August 18 2018 2:34 AM EDT2018-08-18 06:34:50 GMT

    SPOKANE, Wash. - Court documents are offering more details about a disturbing case of child abuse in Spokane. Investigators arrested 33-year-old Erik Sherman in the death of his baby Thursday. One doctor who witnessed the abuse told investigators in court documents it was "one of the worst cases of child abuse he had seen in 23 years of practice."

    >>

    SPOKANE, Wash. - Court documents are offering more details about a disturbing case of child abuse in Spokane. Investigators arrested 33-year-old Erik Sherman in the death of his baby Thursday. One doctor who witnessed the abuse told investigators in court documents it was "one of the worst cases of child abuse he had seen in 23 years of practice."

    >>
  • Legal battle raging over home owned by Shasta Groene but used by her dad

    Legal battle raging over home owned by Shasta Groene but used by her dad

    Saturday, August 18 2018 2:37 AM EDT2018-08-18 06:37:31 GMT

    COEUR D'ALENE, Idaho - 13 years ago Shasta Groene lived through unimaginable horror. In mid-May, 2005, her mother, her mother's boyfriend, and her oldest brother were murdered in front of her. 8-year-old Shasta was kidnapped and, along with her 9-year-old brother Dylan, tortured and sexually abused for weeks. 

    >>

    COEUR D'ALENE, Idaho - 13 years ago Shasta Groene lived through unimaginable horror. In mid-May, 2005, her mother, her mother's boyfriend, and her oldest brother were murdered in front of her. 8-year-old Shasta was kidnapped and, along with her 9-year-old brother Dylan, tortured and sexually abused for weeks. 

    >>
  • Lawyer says girls' bodies were submerged in oil

    Lawyer says girls' bodies were submerged in oil

    Friday, August 17 2018 9:16 PM EDT2018-08-18 01:16:06 GMT

    FREDERICK, Colo. (AP) - A lawyer for a Colorado man suspected in the deaths of his pregnant wife and two young daughters says the daughters' bodies were submerged in crude oil for four days before they were found.  Defense attorney James Merson made the statement in a court motion Friday. The motion asks a judge to order that DNA samples be taken from the children's throats.

    >>

    FREDERICK, Colo. (AP) - A lawyer for a Colorado man suspected in the deaths of his pregnant wife and two young daughters says the daughters' bodies were submerged in crude oil for four days before they were found.  Defense attorney James Merson made the statement in a court motion Friday. The motion asks a judge to order that DNA samples be taken from the children's throats.

    >>
HD DOPPLER 6i
/