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Long wait over for retired educator Tim Hanner, donor Alyssa Vanderpool; kidney transplant a success

By Judy Clabes
Special to KyForward

The wait was long and tedious for retired educator Tim Hanner and his kidney donor, teacher Alyssa Vanderpool — but the story came to a happy end this week.

On Monday, Alyssa and Tim checked into Christ Hospital in Cincinnati

Hanner has his life-saving kidney. He’s still at Christ Hospital, out of ICU and in a regular room, and the kidney is working and both he and Alyssa are feeling great — and grateful.

Hanner has been battling kidney disease for years. An earlier transplant from his sister failed after eight years and he started the search for a new donor as he turned to dialysis three days a week.

He found an unexpected and surprising donor in a former student who stepped forward to be tested — and who was determined to “save Mr. Hanner’s life.” Alyssa Vanderpool, an elementary school teacher, was the perfect donor. They were set for the transplant in April when COVID-19 forced “elective surgeries” to the back burner.

See the Nortern Kentucky Tribune’s story here.

Tim and Alyssa never wavered, though both were anxious and challenged — with quarantine and the pressure of waiting.

Tim’s health was failing, though his attitude was positive and ever up-lifting. He even started a Facebook page for people who have health problems, Putting a Face on the Vulnerable, so that the group could find encouragement from others.

On Monday, Alyssa and Tim checked into Christ Hospital

In quarantine with his wife, Marlene, he couldn’t see his children or grandchildren — and he continued to mow his own lawn, though he admitted to taking breaks in the process.

Tim and Alyssa checked into Christ Hospital on Monday for COVID testing and general, last-minute prep.

They went into surgery on Tuesday morning. It went perfectly. They were both sent to recovery, then Tim went to the ICU — and by Wednesday morning he was texting about how great he felt and about “Alyssa, the warrior, and a true hero.”

Tim will be in the hospital for a few days still but when he gets home, hopefully by early next week, he’ll still be in quarantine for several weeks, with Marlene at his side.

He is, of course, expecting a full and complete recovery. He has the rest of his life to live. Thanks to Alyssa, who really did save his life.

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Judy Clabes is editor and publisher of the Northern Kentucky Tribune and serves as senior advisor to KyForward.com.

See the NKyTribune’s story about Tim and Alyssa here.

See the NKyTribune’s story about Tim’s search for a new kidney here.

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