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Having grown up with faith as an integral part of his life, Brad is firmly grounded in what is most important in this Earthly life – his love for our Lord, Jesus Christ. Brad graduated from Lutheran High School and Concordia University and has been fortunate to have worked the majority of his career as a Lutheran school teacher and principal. It is his strong faith that has helped him overcome all of the adversities thrust upon him – juvenile diabetes, a kidney/pancreas transplant, pancreas retransplant and now the need for a kidney retransplant.
Brad was diagnosed with juvenile diabetes when he was 12. In 1989/1990 he began a medical study at Froedtert Hospital, studying the effects of blood pressure on the kidneys, at which time his kidneys started to fail. While being in the study for four years, he experienced kidney disease, neuropathy (not having feeling in his feet since this time) and required pan retinopathy in both eyes to avoid blindness. For anyone else who experiences all of these issues, most would wonder “why me, God?” For Brad, he has always said “if not me, then who, God?”
By September 1997, he had been living with kidney disease for almost eight years. Brad’s first surgery was in early September 1997 to place a dialysis catheter in his abdomen to start peritoneal dialysis. Early October 1997, a catheter to clean and reposition the original catheter that was placed. In late October 1997, a third surgery was done to replace the clogged dialysis catheter. Being the die-hard hunter, Brad did not even let a little thing like dialysis stop him during the gun hunt in 1997, reminiscing about this adventure and boasting of his ability to actually perform the dialysis in the woods. Brad was officially listed on the transplant list on December 23, 1997, and on January 2, 1998, he received a call from UW Madison of a potential cadaver donor. Surgery happened on January 3, 1997, for a kidney and pancreas. Except for a minor bout of rejection in late March 1998, Brad has been blessed with that new kidney and pancreas for nearly 25 years.
In August of 2018, because his transplanted pancreas was “tired,” Brad required another pancreas transplant. In an effort to not be boring, Brad also developed a bone infection, nearly losing his foot (he'll tell you the best part of this adventure was tooling around on a knee scooter for three months), third degree burns over 8 of his 10 toes, and most recently was struck over the head with a dead ash tree requiring 15 staples in his head (really, I can’t make this stuff up).
Over these last 25 years, God has immensely blessed Brad. Brad’s witnessing and focus on being a disciple of God has been evident in his selfless work within the Sheboygan Area Lutheran community. He humbly disagrees that he has made much of an impact on others, but the lines of friends, family and loved ones that will raise their hand to tell you how much of a difference Brad has made in their lives would go for miles.
Brad’s 25-year-old transplanted kidney is now failing, and we are in the process of being evaluated/approved for another kidney transplant. In order to protect the four-year-old pancreas, he needs a living donor. To date, six people have selflessly stepped forward to be evaluated as a potential donor. With potential expenses for the possible donors, the Jentsches have realized that they can no longer keep up with the mounting medical costs. In fact, Brad and his family are still paying on medical expenses incurred as a result of his transplant in 2019.