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News: Guardsman donates kidney to fellow soldier

Story by Senior Master Sgt. David LippSmall RSS Icon

Guardsman donates kidney to fellow soldier Courtesy Photo

Dr. Bhargav Mistry, a transplant surgeon for Sanford Health, operates during a transplant surgery in which Sgt. Francisco Raatz's healthy kidney is placed into his battle buddy, Spc. John Chase, on Sept. 27, 2011, at Sanford Health in Fargo, N.D. Both Raatz and Chase deployed to Afghanistan together twice with the North Dakota National Guard's 1st Battalion, 188th Air Defense Artillery Regiment. Chase's kidneys failed during the second deployment, and he spent 17 months undergoing dialysis. Raatz volunteered for the painful surgery to help his battle buddy.

FARGO, N.D. — Spc. John Chase wasn’t feeling the best when he came home on a two-week leave from his second deployment to Afghanistan in May 2010. He took his family on vacation to Walt Disney World Resort, but just before he was to return to his fellow Guardsmen with the North Dakota National Guard’s 1st Battalion, 188th Air Defense Artillery Regiment, he discovered what was ailing him: his kidneys were failing.

He immediately started dialysis, a process that would continue for four hours at a stretch, three days a week until the end of September. That’s when Sgt. Francisco “Cisco” Raatz donated one of his healthy kidneys to his brother in arms. Raatz had been on both deployments with Chase. The young, healthy Soldier had never had a surgery in his life, but volunteered for the painful process to help his friend and fellow soldier, whom he said goes out of his way to help others.

“Part of me thought maybe it’s about time somebody tried to help him for all of his efforts,” Raatz said.

Against all odds, Raatz was a perfect match. Oftentimes, 70 or 80 donors are tested before a match is found, the Guardsmen say, especially in a case such as Chase’s; he was adopted and had no family available for a potential donation.

Now, one of Raatz’s kidneys is in his battle buddy’s body, and they’re both recovering from the Sept. 27 surgery at Sanford Medical Center in Fargo, N.D. Both men and their transplant surgeon will be available to discuss more of this story during a media availability at 11 a.m. Friday at the main entrance of Sanford Medical Center, 801 Broadway, Fargo.

WHO: Sgt. Francisco Raatz (kidney donor), Spc. John Chase (kidney recipient) and Dr. Bhargav Mistry (transplant surgeon)
WHAT: Media availability
WHEN: 11 a.m. Friday, Nov. 4
WHERE: Sanford Medical Center main entrance, 801 Broadway, Fargo, N.D.
MEDIA: No pre-coordination is needed. Discs with b-roll video and interviews will be available on site, and high-resolution photos can be downloaded from Flickr.
A feature story on the transplant also is available for your use at


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Public Domain Mark
This work, Guardsman donates kidney to fellow soldier, by SMSgt David Lipp, identified by DVIDS, is free of known copyright restrictions under U.S. copyright law.

Date Taken:11.03.2011

Date Posted:11.03.2011 15:35

Location:FARGO, ND, USGlobe


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