A Review from the St. Paul Pioneer Press

Posted on Jul 27, 2010 in The Reluctant Donor Book | 0 comments

A Review from the St. Paul Pioneer Press

This review was written by Mary Ann Grossman of theĀ St. Paul Pioneer Press


‘The Reluctant Donor’ by Suzanne F. Ruff (Beaver’s Pond Press, $14.95): What would you do if you had to face the thing that terrified you the most? Suzanne Ruff found that you come out stronger when she donated a kidney to her sister.

Ruff, who lives in Minneapolis, tells the story in this beautifully written, gut-wrenching memoir. Ruff’s family was devastated by polycystic kidney disease (PKD) for generations. “The people I have loved most had kidneys that failed,” she writes. “My mother had the disease. Her mother, my grandmother, had the disease. My two uncles. My two aunts. All are deceased, as are two of my cousins who had the disease … now both of my sisters have the disease.”

Ruff did not inherit PKD and knew she had to donate a kidney to one sister, with whom she had had some arguments. But she didn’t make her decision without anguish and fear. She wept, raged at her husband, prayed, whined. But she did it with the help of her family, including her patient husband, who kept saying, “Just for today you aren’t going to donate a kidney” in the weeks leading up to the surgery.

Ruff effortlessly weaves together her emotions and family background with just enough information about PKD to make clear its seriousness without overwhelming the reader with biology. Ruff is a member of the National Kidney Foundation’s Living Donor Council Executive Committee, and her book is sure to make readers do some soul-searching about whether to be organ donors.

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