IU Health University Hospital

Transplant Patient: A Family, Congregation Of Support

Patient Story

Diagnosed with Polycystic Kidney Disease (PKD), Lisa Burton is one of four family members to receive a kidney transplant. She is a patient of Dr. Tim E. Taber and Dr. William C. Goggins.

The way Lisa Burton and her husband Ricky see it, if she hadn’t received a kidney transplant at IU Health, she wouldn’t be meeting all the wonderful patients, doctors, and nurses.

“It’s sort of like a kidney club when we come back to the hospital,” said Burton, who has been married to Ricky Burton for 36 years. As she talks, her husband works the waiting room shaking hands with other patients and checking on their progress. They have exchanged emails, phone numbers, and even gifts with various patients. Many are their Facebook friends. More than once they’ve made plans to meet fellow patients outside the hospital for a meal.

“We have a congregation, and we’ve become good friends. We’re more like a family,” said Lisa Burton. The word “congregation” typifies, the Burton’s view on their gatherings with friends and family. Ricky is an associate pastor of Who So Ever Will Community Church in Edinburgh. Lisa sings in the gospel ensemble and her sister, Shanna Tucker, attends the same church. She also has a brother Mark Bradshaw who lives in Kentucky. All three siblings have been diagnosed with PKD, a chronic, genetic disease that causes cysts to grow on the kidney – eventually leading to kidney failure. Lisa’s sister has two children – both diagnosed with PKD; her brother has a son also diagnosed with the hereditary disease.

Lisa’s brother had a kidney transplant at a Louisville hospital; her sister is waiting to go on the transplant list. Their father received a kidney transplant in 1980 and Lisa Burton received a kidney transplant on March 22 under the care of Dr. Tim E. Taber and Dr. William C. Goggins.

“I really believe it was a miracle,” said Burton, who had been on the transplant list since August of 2016. She was 24 when she was diagnosed with PKD. She was having reoccurring kidney infections and she knew that both her grandfather and father had been diagnosed with PKD. Her father died at the age of 52 and her grandfather at the age of 46.

“I was determined to stay off dialysis and I prayed for a transplant,” said Burton. By the time she received the call for her transplant she said her kidney was so diseased it weighed about seven pounds and was the size of a football.

“I am so thankful for my transplant coordinator Joyce Davis, my doctors and all the nurses in transplant. I knew when I got here, I was meant to be here,” said Burton. “We see it as our role to encourage others. We tell people who are sick to never give up and we tell those who are healthy to consider kidney donation. There is no medication, no treatment that can stop this aggressive disease. Only a kidney transplant saved my life. I am blessed.”

-- By T.J. Banes, Associate Senior Journalist at IU Health.
Reach Banes via email at
T.J. Banes or on Twitter @tjbanes.

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