Sister Loses 100+ Pounds to Donate Kidney

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Sept. 20, 2011: Kari Roberts lost 135 pounds for a chance to see if she was eligible to donate a kidney to her brother. In a way, she says, he saved her life too. (Published Tuesday, Sep 20, 2011)

    Without even knowing if she was eligible to do it, a suburban woman shed more than 100 pounds in an effort to save her brother's life.

    Tony Bolda has IgA nephropathy, a disorder in which antibodies to a specific protein build up in the kidney. He needs a transplant, but the most likely candidate to help -- his sister -- was overweight. At more than 300 pounds, she was in no condition to be a donor.

    So she changed her life.

    "It was just something I felt like I had to do. I said, "How terrible would I feel if I couldn't help him because I was overweight?'" explained Bolda's sister, Kari Roberts.

    Over the course of three years, Roberts changed her lifestyle, her diet and her exercise regimen. She lost 135 pounds, all without even knowing if she was eligible to donate.

    "They wouldn't even test her until she lost the weight," Bolda explained. "So without even knowing if she was going to be able to donate my kidney to me, she went through all this."

    When doctors did test her, she came up a perfect match. The surgery will take place in the next few weeks.

    Because of his sister, doctors say Bolda is a good candidate to make a full recovery.

    "I look at it as he helped save my life too because he forced me to become a healthier person," said Roberts.

    Bolda has good insurance, which is helping to cover most of his medical expenses. His sister, however, will lose at least six weeks of work. A fund has been setup to cover the salary she will lose during that period. It's at MB Financial Bank in Oak Forest under the same "Circle of Love."