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PKD benefit helps battle kidney disease

Dorthea Swanson died of Polycystic Kidney Disease (PKD) in 1960.

Dorthea lived in New Richmond with her husband, Merlin, and their 15 children. Now seven of her children and three grandchildren have been diagnosed with PKD.

A golf tournament is being planned by Dorthea's family to help raise funds for the battle against PKD.

PKD affects more than 600,000 Americans each year. This disease forms cysts in the kidney. This causes the kidney to shut down, with the person developing end-stage renal disease.

There is no known cure and the only treatment for PKD is transplant or dialysis.

At the time of Dorthea's death, little was known about PKD. PKD is hereditary and continues to be passed down from generation to generation. Barb Dinger of New Richmond, one of Dorthea and Merlin's daughters, said one brother and one sister are currently on dialysis. One of their sons, Mike, received a transplant from his daughter in 2001. Both are now doing well, and Mike's daughter is now expecting a child.

Many of the Swanson's children still live in this area. Barb lives in New Richmond Her brother Steve lives in Star Prairie and another brother, Reg, Clear Lake. Several more siblings live in the Ellsworth area. Merlin passed away in 1989.

Common PKD symptoms and signs are: high blood pressure, a family history of kidney disease, heart problems or strokes, kidney stones, frequent urinary tract infections, constant or intermittent pain in the back or the stomach areas, or blood in the urine. If you have any of these symptoms, it is suggested that you contact your physician for an exam and to review information from the PKD foundation.

The PKD Foundation has a website that offers more information on the battle against this disease. The website is: and has information on an effort to form a chapter against the disease in Wisconsin.

On behalf of those affected by the disease, the family of Dorthea Swanson is sponsoring its third annual PKD Golf Tournament at the Spring Valley Golf Club on Saturday, Aug. 2. All donations go directly to the Polycystic Kidney Foundation.

Anyone interested in helping the battle through a day of golf and camaraderie can enter. The 18-hole four-person scramble tournament will have a shotgun start at 8 a.m. at the Spring Valley Golf Club.

For information on tickets, sponsoring a hole or making a cash donation, contact Barb Dinger at 246-6786 or Ed or Doreen Place at 273-5391.

Dave Newman
Dave Newman has been the sports editor at the New Richmond News since 1988. He has covered the action in the Middle Border Conference, Dunn-St. Croix Conference and Big Rivers Conference for nearly 30 years.
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