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Father: “Because of kidney donor, I got to see my son’s preschool graduation’

IU Health University Hospital

Father: “Because of kidney donor, I got to see my son’s preschool graduation’

A father says he felt like he missed a lot of his young son’s life because of kidney disease. Now, he is thankful for restored health.

By IU Health Senior Journalist, TJ Banes, tfender1@iuhealth.org

On his first year anniversary of receiving a new kidney, Ryan Hoke wrote a letter to his caregivers at IU Health. The letter said: “I would like to express my heartfelt appreciation and thankfulness for the care I received over the past year from the transplant team.”

Hoke, 42, was diagnosed 11 years ago with IgA Nephropathy, a disease that can affect the kidney function. The disease was discovered through a random drug test for Hoke’s job.

“The doctor came in and said, ‘I have good news and bad news.’ The bad news was that I had extreme protein in my urine,” Hoke said. He made an appointment with his family physician and learned his kidney function was in the high 30s. It remained that way for several years and in October of 2020, his kidneys began failing and he started dialysis.

A Purdue University graduate, Hoke grew up in Carlisle, Ind. located in Sullivan County. He was raised on a farm and studied agricultural in college. Six years ago, he married, JeanMarie, a woman he met through friends. They live on a 15-acre horse farm in Decker, Ind. just south of Vincennes. They have a son Carter, 5.

When Hoke faced the possibility of transplant, the family began spreading the word for a possible donor. “A friend of a friend of a friend learned about it and came forward,” said Hoke. The family lives out of state and designated Hoke as the recipient of the deceased family member.

On May 20, 2021, Hoke was in the care of Dr. William Goggins when he received his new kidney at IU Health University Hospital. He has also been in the care of Dr. Muhammad Yaqub, and Dr. Ayman Hallab.

In his letter of thanks, Hoke expressed his appreciation to his doctors. He wrote: “I am sitting at my office where I got ‘the call’ at this exact time last year. This day comes with mixed emotions for me. I am so thankful my deceased donor decided to donate to help save my life as well as others. I pray every single day for the comfort for his family and especially for his 5-year-old son, also named ‘Carter’ like my own son.”

Hoke goes on to write: “I got to see my son graduate from preschool yesterday knowing that this time last year I didn’t know if I would see this day.”

In the past year, Hoke said he is getting back to the things he loves - watching his wife show and train horses, his son play golf and baseball, and anything outdoors - especially farming.

“I didn’t know how bad I felt until I felt so good,” said Hoke. “Transplant opened my eyes to how truly genuine people are and how caring our community is.”

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