January 17, 2019

This couple divorced. Then she gave him her kidney.

By Karl Oestreich

Washington Post
by Cathy Free

After 21 years of marriage, Bill Henrichs and Mary Ziegler — once high school sweethearts — concluded that they were no longer a good match. The couple amicably divorced in 1995 and went their separate ways, but they continued to see each other at their kids' school and sporting events. Washington Post newspaper logoEvery once in a while, they’d run into each other at a restaurant or grocery store in their town of St. Cloud, Minn. “Our interests were different,” said Ziegler, 62. “But we were always good friends, and family was a big part of our lives. Like a lot of other couples, we’d just grown apart.” In February 2018, though, she and Henrichs learned they were a match in a different way. Henrichs’s kidneys were failing, and he was in need of a transplant. After nearly 40 family members and friends were tested as possible donors, only one person turned out to be a perfect match: Ziegler…So on Oct. 16, more than four decades after they said “I do,” she and Henrichs, 62, were wheeled into an operating room at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., and one of Ziegler’s healthy kidneys was removed and given to her ex-husband.

Reach: Weekday circulation of The Washington Post is more than 356,000. The Post's website receives more than 32.7 million unique visitors each month.

Additional coverage: Duluth News TribunePioneer Press

Context:  Andrew Bentall, M.B., Ch.B., M.D. is a Mayo Clinic nephrologist. Mayo Clinic surgeons perform more than 600 kidney transplants a year, including for people with very challenging kidney conditions who need special solutions and surgeries. And Mayo Clinic kidney transplant teams in Arizona, Florida and Minnesota are leaders in living-donor kidney transplants.

Contact: Heather Carlson

Tags: Bill Henrichs, Dr. Andrew Bentall, kidney transplant, Mary Ziegler, Uncategorized, Washington Post

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