The evening of Wednesday, July 3, was one of jubilation and thanksgiving for Kirn and Stephanie (Autumn, K.J. and Ella) Wildhaber and McKinsy Lietz. The Wildhaber family and Lietz met at Tres Chic Salon, in Hillsboro, to let go of one of the last vestiges of fear tied to Wildhaber's pre-transplant days.
Lietz became a living organ donor on Tuesday, June 18, when she gave one of her kidneys to Wildhaber, who has been diagnosed with a recessive disease that attacked his kidneys. Wildhaber had been growing out his hair throughout the almost two years that he waited for his second kidney transplant.
"I came in for the occasional trim, but I refused to cut it," said Wildhaber speaking about what the family refers to as his rally for a kidney hair. "I felt like cutting it would somehow jinx my chance at finding another kidney and undergoing a successful transplant."
Wildhaber let go of the long-held superstition on Wednesday evening, and fittingly Lietz was the one to help break the fear by making the first few cuts to his hair. While Lietz began the cut by chopping off Wildhaber's long locks, Tres Chic Salon owner and longtime friend of the family, Melanie Tyszko, finished up the transformational haircut. It was an emotional moment for everyone in the room but especially for Stephanie, who tearfuly remarked how much younger her husband looked when his hair was finally shorn.
Both Wildhaber and Lietz are recovering well from their surgeries and Wildhaber's new kidney is functioning above expectation.
"I feel great and apparently (now) I look great, too. I just turned 40 and have a 25 year old kidney, I feel like I could take on the world," joked Wildhaber, who in many ways already has.
To read more about Lietz's experience as a living organ donor follow her blog online at https://clothedingraceandlove.blogspot.com.