Brother donates kidney to younger sister

17 years ago

    MAPLETON, Maine – Last spring, Shauna Johnston was granted a wish from the Make-A-Wish Foundation of Maine – a shopping spree at the Bangor Mall.

    However, yesterday morning, Johnston received a true gift – a  kidney donated by her brother, Christopher.    Shauna, 18, and Christopher, 20, are the children of Garth and Debbie Johnston of Mapleton.
In 1996, Shauna was diagnosed with chronic renal failure, or kidney disease.
“Her illness was caused by a urinary tract infection and reflux,” said Debbie.
In the fall of 2006, Shauna qualified for the transplant list for a kidney as a pediatric patient with less than 20 percent kidney malfunction. Christopher opted to be tested to be a living donor and was found to be a 50 percent match. It is preferred to have a living donor if possible versus a deceased donor. By having a living donor, Shauna was able to choose her surgery date and avoid dialysis.
Both surgeries took place Tuesday morning at Maine Medical Center in Portland and were done by the Maine Transplant Program of Portland. Shauna’s surgery took about four hours to complete, while Christopher’s procedure took less time.
Christopher is expected to be at Maine Medical Center until Thursday and will return home Friday if there are no complications. The 20-year-old is a 2005 graduate of Presque Isle High School and resides in Castle Hill.
Shauna is a 2007 graduate of PIHS and lives in Mapleton.
Because pediatric nephrologists are following Shauna, she will be in the hospital at least until Sunday and possibly up to two weeks. She will then stay at the Ronald McDonald House for most of the month. Due to the distance of 300 miles each way and doctors visits/testing done two to three times a week initially, she will need to be in the Portland area until she stabilizes and medication levels are where they should be, and doctors visits/testing becomes less frequent. The family will be traveling down so at least one will be with her at all times while away from home.
The siblings are both on the fifth floor, Richards Wing, at Maine Medical Center. Get well wishes can be sent by Maine Medical Center’s online service at and click on online services and send a patient greeting, or mailed to 22 Bramhall Street, Portland, Maine 04102 or to the Ronald McDonald House at 250 Brackett Street, Portland, Maine 04102.