Cheryl & Doobie's "Kidney-versary"...


By Doobie Kurus & Cheryl Zitur

Doobie Kurus and Cheryl Zitur celebrate their 5th Anniversary...
Ok, that headline was misleading. It should have read Doobie Kurus and Cheryl Zitur celebrate their 5th "Kidney-versary", because 5 years ago on June 30th, they each donated one of their kidneys to help save someone's life. People often worry how a donor's life might be affected, but 5 years later here's what they've been up to, and we think you'll be impressed.

per Cheryl
I donated to my oldest son Chris who lives in Denver.  He is still doing great!  He continues to be active playing hockey, kickball, volleyball and skiing in the winter.  We are so happy he is healthy!!  

I continue to train for triathlons! I completed an Ironman 1 year after donation and a Marathon in 2019 qualifying for Boston but it was cancelled due to Covid.   I swim, bike and run every week and teach strength and conditioning classes 3 days a week.  My goal is to do at least 3 triathlons a year.  I am also enjoying many trips to Florida to play with my twin Grandkids.  I have met so many awesome donors over the years and am part of a Facebook group...

known as Kidney Donor Athletes with many stories of donors who continue to compete, train and be active after kidney donation.  Being a living donor for my son was one of the best things I have done and I feel fortunate that because I was physically active prior to the donation I did not miss a beat going back to doing the activities I love!,

(Editor's Note: Cheryl is being modest, as she actually was the top overall female at the 2016 Maple Grove Tri, a mere 8 weeks post surgery, and she continues to dominate on the course!)

per Doobie:
I donated to my former Gopher football teammate, Ed Hawthorne. Eddie and I were friends on and off of the field in college, and we even knew each other's girlfriend (now wife) then too. We lost contact when he went to play for the Miami Dolphins, but eventually connected again through alumni events. When I told my wife, Joyce, about Ed's situation and that he was in need of a donor, she knew that I would want to volunteer (go figure!). The whole process went well, and I'm happy to report that it was one of the best decisions of my life (next to marrying Joyce!). Ed is doing well and getting to spend lots of quality time with his wife and sons, instead of being hooked up to a machine for dialysis for hours on end.
As for me, I'm still competing in triathlons. I do about 3-5 each summer, including some of the smaller and lesser known ones, especially ones that might require an overnight stay. I try to have fun, even donning a football jersey, wearing "eye black", and carrying a football across the goal line...um finish line. On a good day, I sometimes make the podium...THANK GOD FOR THE CLYDESDALE CATEGORY!!! I also still enjoy putting on triathlons, swim events, etc. and I'm even working on new events. I'm probably at one of the healthiest (and happiest) periods of my life. My only regret is that I can't do another live donation again, but others can. I am part of a social group for kidney donors, and will continue to spread the word about the need for live donors. I'm thankful that I found the wonderful triathlon community as it helped save 2 lives...Ed's and mine.
(Editor's Note: Doobie is being Doobie...optimistic and altruistic. Doobie led numerous virtual meetings when COVID hit to help connect MN Race Directors to help get their events back in action.)
Thank you Cheryl and Doobie for sharing your stories (and your kidneys!) If people have questions or comments for them about their stories or about live donations, catch them at one of the many events they participate in. Until then, keep TRI'ing! Apparently, as we found out, triathlons do the body good!