What a difference a year has made in the life of Oak Park and River Forest High School alum Jonathan Darnall.
On Friday, Jno (Jon-O) – as he’s called by family and friends – received a new kidney from his aunt, Jeannine Kring. Just as miraculous to his mom Mary is the fact that Jno, 20, is adopted and hadn’t been able to find a match until now.
“We’re very grateful for my sister to be a match,” she said. “This is just an incredible miracle.”
Jno, who graduated last June, has suffered serious health problems since childhood. Last April, his second kidney replacement failed, forcing him on a weekly dialysis regimen. But the family soon learned that Jno’s aunt was a match. It took about a year of tests to make sure the surgery would go through, Mary recalled. Friday’s procedure was a success.
“I’m pretty tired but I’m feeling better,” Jno said Monday by phone.
Aunt Jeannine was actually out of the hospital Saturday morning. Other than rest, she’ll need no more medical procedures related to the surgery.
“The doctors told me to just take it easy for a couple of weeks,” she said.
Jno was in intensive care until Sunday night, which is normal following such a procedure. He was able sit up for a few hours and took a few steps with nurses at Chicago’s Rush Hospital where the surgery took place. His family has been with him throughout.
Mary said they’ve received e-mails from well-wishers all weekend, including from OPRF. Their church, St. Edmund’s Parish in Oak Park, sent a large get-well card on Monday signed by parishioners.
Jno spent part of Monday on his laptop checking e-mails and his Facebook page. He’s also receiving a treatment to clean out any antibodies in his blood that might reject the kidney. He was 7 years old when he got his second replacement, that one lasting for 11 years until giving out last year. It had another unique quality-he gave it a nickname, Hercules.
He also used the name in his e-mail account: Hercules92997. The 92997 was the date he received the kidney. The family thought about naming the new kidney Wonder Woman for his aunt. Thinking that might look strange on Jno’s e-mail, they instead decided to name it after Jeannine’s nickname, ‘Neenee.’ Mary said she and her other siblings couldn’t say her name as kids, so they just called her Neenee.
Jno’s expected to be released from the hospital on Thursday or Friday. When he’s well enough, Jno said he wants to visit family in Las Vegas and Michigan. He’ll resume classes at Triton College, too. Jno’s looking forward to getting a new Mac computer to work on his video-editing. And he also wants a dog.
“He also wants to go on a college road trip to visit his friends in college,” Mary said.