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The Story Of Two Julies

Rick Brewer
Julie Knight (left) and Julie Freese (right) have been friends since their days as students at the University of Iowa. In December 2018, Freese donated one of her kidneys to Knight.

Julie Knight met Julie Freese in a candy store in downtown Iowa City in the early 1980s. Knight had been battling Type 1 diabetes since she was ten years old and says she felt like one of the misfit toys from "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer." After moving into a house together on Ash Street the two Julies, of course, became even closer. But their relationship only grew stronger after parting ways in Iowa City.

Last December, Knight was diagnosed with kidney failure. Without any hesitation Freese said she would donate one of her kidneys. The odds of being a perfect match with a non-family member are slim. However, Freese says she knew they would be a match before any of the test results came back, and they were. On this edition of Talk of Iowa, host Charity Nebbe speaks with Knight and Freese about their friendship and how the kidney tranplant has impacted their lives. 

According to the Iowa Donor Network there are 597 Iowans on the waiting list for organ donations right now. Over 1.8 million Iowans are registered as organ donors, meaning that their organs and tissues can be harvested after their deaths. During the latter portion of the show we hear from Heather Butterfield, Director of Strategic Communications for the Iowa Donor Network about the life-changing services they provide.

This show originally aired on 8/5/19


Julie Knight

Julie Freese 

Heather Butterfield, Director of Strategic Communications at Iowa Donor Network

Rick Brewer was a producer for IPR's Talk of Iowa and River to River
Charity Nebbe is the host of IPR's Talk of Iowa