An anniversary celebration at Baptist Hospital this week. It was not for a marriage, or for years of service, but for a surgery. 25 years ago this month, doctors performed the first kidney transplant there. And the recipient is still living with it.
Deana Morrison of Cotter has been living with the same, donated kidney for a quarter century.
diagnosed with a disease at 10 years old, and in kidney failure at 19, Dana received the first kidney transplant ever performed at Baptist Hospital in 1989.
"I remember thinking, God, if you give me one year of this, I will be so thankful. And now, 25 years later, I'm saying (laughs), God I am so thankful," said Morrison.
Deana's kidney was donated by her mother, and getting the kidney from family member meant the organ would likely last longer, but Deana's kidney has far outlasted today's norm of 10 to 20 years.
"But this was 1989. The medicines they were using are far inferior to what we have today. So, for her to go 25 years with those sort of approaches, is wonderful," said Dr. Scott Young, the Kidney Transplant Director.
Deana left the hospital in 1989 and got a Masters degree, and is now a nurse practitioner, paying it forward, and living a life, she never dreamed she'd live.
"25 years later, I've been able to have a family. I thought I'd never be able to have children. I've been able to finish my Masters degree, and do what I want to do as my career. I just couldn't be more blessed," Morrison said.
Dr. Young says there are no signs Deana's kidney won't continue to function well in the future..