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>>

  • Team recovers body of 19 year old who disappeared on pass

    Team recovers body of 19 year old who disappeared on pass

    Sunday, June 25 2017 7:00 PM EDT2017-06-25 23:00:46 GMT

    LEAVENWORTH, Wash. - A mountain rescue team has recovered the body of a 19-year-old Mercer Island man who disappeared into a crevasse on Aasgard Pass on June 4.      The Chelan County Sheriff's Office says the team and a sheriff's deputy recovered the body of Benjamin Gore at about 11:30 a.m. Sunday. 

    >>

    LEAVENWORTH, Wash. - A mountain rescue team has recovered the body of a 19-year-old Mercer Island man who disappeared into a crevasse on Aasgard Pass on June 4.      The Chelan County Sheriff's Office says the team and a sheriff's deputy recovered the body of Benjamin Gore at about 11:30 a.m. Sunday. 

    >>
  • California father buries wrong man after coroner's mistake

    California father buries wrong man after coroner's mistake

    Sunday, June 25 2017 4:42 PM EDT2017-06-25 20:42:31 GMT

    SANTA ANA, Calif. (AP) - A Southern California man who thought his son had died has learned he buried the wrong man.  Eighty-two-year-old Frank J. Kerrigan of Wildomar says the Orange County coroner's office mistakenly identified a body found dead on May 6 as that of his son.  Kerrigan says he was told fingerprints were used to ID 57-year-old Frank M. Kerrigan, who is mentally ill and homeless.

    >>

    SANTA ANA, Calif. (AP) - A Southern California man who thought his son had died has learned he buried the wrong man.  Eighty-two-year-old Frank J. Kerrigan of Wildomar says the Orange County coroner's office mistakenly identified a body found dead on May 6 as that of his son.  Kerrigan says he was told fingerprints were used to ID 57-year-old Frank M. Kerrigan, who is mentally ill and homeless.

    >>
  • Man arrested for using missing woman's credit cards

    Man arrested for using missing woman's credit cards

    Wednesday, February 10 2016 9:48 PM EST2016-02-11 02:48:26 GMT
    Thursday, February 11 2016 1:05 AM EST2016-02-11 06:05:40 GMT

    SPOKANE - It's been more than three months since a beauty school student seemingly vanished from downtown Spokane. No one has heard from 35-year-old Deanne Hastings since early November.

    >>

    SPOKANE - It's been more than three months since a beauty school student seemingly vanished from downtown Spokane. No one has heard from 35-year-old Deanne Hastings since early November.

    >>
HD DOPPLER 6i
/