“I needed the transplant because I had chronic lupus nephritus, a blood disease which affects any major organ in the body.” Orlikowski said. The University of Minnesota Hospital performed the surgery.
Doctors suspected that the disease was activated by strep throat when Orlikowski was 13. The disease damaged both kidneys. An average kidney transplant lasts 10 to 12 years, but Orlikowski’s first transplant lasted 17.
“I am one of the lucky ones,” Orlikowski said, “I can do pretty much anything I put my mind to.