Steamboat local reports smooth recovery after donating kidney | SteamboatToday.com

Steamboat local reports smooth recovery after donating kidney

Dave Berry returned from Florida last week, a month after donating one of his kidneys to brother Scott Berry, pictured in the photograph behind him.

— Steamboat Springs resident Dave Berry said he's been blown away by the experience of becoming a live kidney donor to his oldest brother.

Berry returned from Florida on Friday, only a month after donating one of his kidneys to brother Scott Berry, who has battled the effects of IgA Nephropathy, an autoimmune disease of the kidney, for the past 20 years.

Dave Berry said the experience of donating the organ went much smoother than expected, and the nervousness he felt for weeks beforehand wore off within only an hour or two after waking up from surgery April 12.

"It was nothing that I thought it would be," Dave Berry said Monday. "It was more discomfort than pain, and I was walking within an hour of surgery."

Dave Berry and his brother, who now has three kidneys, both spent three days in the Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville, Florida, near where Scott Berry lives, before they were released to recover at home.

"Within hours they were talking about how well the kidney was taking with him," Dave Berry said. "All in all, the Mayo was so incredible."

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Dave Berry said that since the operation, he's received well wishes from close friends and long-ago acquaintances, as well as financial support to help he and his family with the costs associated with travel and lost wages from the surgery.

"I heard from people I grew up with to college friends to people that I didn't even know," Berry said.

Dave Berry and his wife, Lisa Berry, set up a bank account at Wells Fargo called the David Berry Living Donor Fund and have received support for expenses through the fund, as well as some assistance from LiftUp of Routt County.

"I don't think I could have done this without the support of everybody," Dave Berry said.

Dave Berry has lived in Steamboat since 1994, and many people know him across town through his work in the Steamboat Springs School District — including a year as Steamboat Springs High School football coach for the 2012-13 season — and his role as manager of Slopeside Restaurant in the late 1990s and early 2000s.

Along with the positive messages, Dave Berry has heard a lot from other people who know about someone affected by kidney problems, and he's hopeful sharing his positive experience with organ donation can help ease the worries of others who might be in similar situations.

"I've been blown away by the number of people affected by dialysis or kidney problems," Dave Berry said. "If someone is going through this, I want them to reach out. I would tell them my story."

Now back in Steamboat, Dave Berry is looking forward to spending time with his family and continuing to reflect on his experience.

"I got the chance to show my brother what I would do for him," he said. "And people don't always get to do that."

To reach Teresa Ristow, call 970-871-4206, email tristow@SteamboatToday.com or follow her on Twitter @TeresaRistow