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Early success reported in Fargo radio announcer's kidney transplant

Joanie Carey, left, of Casselton, N.D., shares a laugh with Paul Leintz and his wife Leslie Limvere on Dec. 3, 2017, in their Fargo home. Carey donated a kidney to Leintz in a procedure on Dec. 12. Robin Huebner / The Forum

FARGO — Two local people involved in a live kidney transplant at the University of Minnesota Medical Center are expected to leave the hospital soon.

Paul "Paulee" Leintz, a radio announcer in Fargo, received a kidney from longtime friend Joanie Carey of Casselton, N.D., on Dec. 12.

Both were expected to be discharged sometime Friday, Dec. 15, but will stay in the Twin Cities for at least a week for follow-up care.

"I am feeling really good. Doctors are very happy with my progress," Leintz said in a message to The Forum.

Leintz's wife, Leslie Limvere, in a Facebook post soon after the procedure, said her husband's transplanted kidney was already producing urine. He took his first post-operation walk the next day.

Though it took Carey longer to be up and about, she said her healing is going well. "I'm a bit sore, but it's manageable," she said.

About a week before the surgery, Carey surprised Leintz with the news that she was a donor match for him and was willing to donate a kidney.

Her daughter, 2-year-old Ember, was born with a rare heart condition and died waiting for a second heart transplant in October 2015.

Carey described the opportunity to donate a kidney to a friend as a "full-circle moment."

Leintz has been on kidney dialysis for nine hours each day, for the past year and a half.

Born with cystic fibrosis, he received a double lung transplant 15 years ago, and anti-rejection drugs have taken a toll on his kidneys.

With a new kidney, Leintz is expected to no longer need dialysis. He will, however, still be in need of a pancreas transplant at a later date.