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Transplant Stories: Kidney-in-Law

Updated: Jun 5, 2019

Aaron had supported his sister-in-law Lori for years by running with Team Kidney in the Chicago Marathon. When he heard that she needed a new kidney, he was ready to help her get to the finish line.


Aaron visiting Lori, just prior to surgery.

When Aaron Parks and Lori Goelz met, he was her sister’s boyfriend. Seventeen years later, he’s family and her kidney donor. And on Sunday, October 7, 2018 he ran the Chicago Marathon – just one month after his donation.

Lori was diagnosed in 2001 with IgA Nephropathy, a disease that causes kidney inflammation and eventually causes kidney failure. At the time, she was 28 years old. Her older sister Kim donated her own kidney. By November of 2017, it was clear to her medical team that Lori’s transplanted kidney was failing and she was ready for another transplant. Enter brother-in-law Aaron.

Aaron and Lori’s sister Denise were married in 2003 and in the summer of 2017, Aaron began running with the National Kidney Foundation of Illinois’ Team Kidney in Lori’s honor. When he heard Lori needed another kidney transplant, Aaron, along with three other members of the Goelz family, was tested.

In July of 2018 - the call came, letting Aaron know he was a match.

Aaron says, "I really wanted to do something in honor of Lori to help raise awareness about kidney disease and also organ donation in general. When I found out I could help Lori by being a living donor, I knew that would be an even more direct way to help."

Despite the fact that he was well into his marathon training, Aaron agreed to donate his kidney. On Thursday, September 6, Aaron and Lori underwent surgery and Aaron’s kidney became Lori’s. They both say recovery is going well and Lori’s new kidney is already helping.

About her recovery, Lori says, "I’m feeling great, I haven’t felt this way in over 15 years. This has made a huge impact on me. I am thankful for this donation every day. I'm thankful for Aaron everyday. Aaron is the kindest, person that you will ever meet."

Amazingly, Aaron ran the Chicago Marathon on Sunday, October 7, just ONE MONTH after donating his kidney. He has committed to continue

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