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Dear family, friends and all those who prayed for me. Today is August 7th and by the grace of God all is well. As always, I give all praises and honor to God while thanking Him for His son, Jesus.

During the summer of 2002 while playing a game of basketball, I realized that I felt sluggish and slow. At one point during the game I looked down and noticed that my ankles had swelled to approximately the same size as my thighs, causing some concern. I immediately left the game but didn't see a doctor until the next day. This was not very smart on my part. I should have gone directly to an emergency room. The following day the swelling had subsided and it was God's will that I made it to my doctor that morning. Numerous tests were performed after which I was informed that my blood pressure was 235/115, cholesterol over 400 and my doctor wanted me admitted to a hospital. At this time I plotted and eventually carried out a very stealthy exit of the premises. Once again not smart at all on my part. I should have gone directly to the hospital. After several weeks of painful bodily inflammations and lots of self-diagnosis, I was led by the Spirit back to the doctor's office. (It had to be the Holy Ghost because this was totally against my will.) Thus began an 11 year journey filled with blessings, miracles, soul searching and revelation.

In the fall of 2002 after a barrage of medical testing, probing, prodding, biopsies and the like, I was misdiagnosed with Lupus. The 2 1/2 year Lupus journey was filled with harsh medicines, frequent doctors' visits, six months of chemotherapy and a 40 pound weight gain. All the while I continued to thank and praise my Lord and savior for all things. Through much prayer and supplication (and not just my own), I let go of my concerns and learned to truly succumb to the will of God. This affirmation led to a transformation in my life. I KNOW God's grace is sufficient and I thank and praise Him for His love daily.

After being treated for lupus for 2 1/2 years and showing no signs of improvement, my nephrologist concluded and explained to me that he did not know what else to do for me. He was completely out of ideas. I must say, it was only by God's grace and divine influence that this highly regarded doctor chose to hand write a letter to Dr. Gerald Appel, another highly regarded nephrologist (He is the doctor who performed NBA legend Alonzo Mourning's famed kidney transplant.) My doctor pleaded with Dr. Appel to take my case because he had no remedy for me. Although Dr. Appel does not accept new patients, it was God's will that he agreed to take me on. What a huge blessing! After my first visit, Dr. Appel's team gathered all the information my previous doctors had accumulated, and concluded that I did not have Lupus, but instead an auto-immune deficiency called Focal Sclerosis (The actual medical term is Focal Segmental Glomerulosclerosis or FSGS). I was informed that my body was holding up extremely well for someone who had undergone the harsh treatments of the previous 2 1/2 years. I was put on a new regimen and sent back to my previous doctor to monitor and administer.

From 2004 on, I watched my health deteriorate all be it at a much slower rate than the professionals predicted, all the while giving thanks and praise to Jesus. Throughout this period I encountered hundreds of people with the same condition and I would say that ALL seemed to be much more afflicted physically than I. In fact, throughout this entire 11 year ordeal I was considered the miracle patient by the clinicians. I gladly accepted this title but had no problem letting them know that it's all God's undeserved, unearned favor. I recall going to the hospital for tests and being mistaken for a kidney donor as opposed to a prospective recipient…GOD IS GOOD.
Continued....Testimony of Dennis Bligen
Transplant Recipient
Not to get ahead of myself but…fast forward to the fall of 2011. I was informed that my kidney function was below 20% of capacity, which would now allow me to be placed on the National Kidney donor list. I was officially placed on the list in November 2011 and into the very capable hands of the Transplant Team at Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York City. (Where my sister-in-law Michele, is a registered nurse and has been a God-send.) According to the Transplant Team at Mt. Sinai, the average wait time for an African American male in New York City to receive a kidney transplant is approximately seven years. Being abundantly blessed, I received a successful transplant in just nine months! This was extremely unlikely. While many of my family and friends were eliminated as potential donors (and I thank the Lord for them), one very unlikely friend became my actual donor.

My unlikely donor and I met in 1989 as co-workers and formed a great friendship. She was an unlikely donor in that she is of Scandinavian descent which would make her an unlikely biological match. She was also unlikely in that she is not a family member. It was unlikely that we would become and remain very close friends considering our vastly different backgrounds. I grew up on the concrete streets of New York City; she grew up on a farm in Harlan, Iowa. It is very obvious that God's hands were in this from the beginning of time. Jill Christensen is her name and she was not a biological match for me. By the grace of God there is a fairly new transplant process called, "The Paired Exchange." This miracle process allows prospective kidney donors who are not biological matches to their respective recipients to be added to a pool of prospective donors who are also not biological matches. It is then worked out in a mix and match fashion where everyone who brings a donor to the table receives a donor and a subsequent transplant. Jill and I were part of a very successful 12 person "Paired Exchange" kidney transfer and I will forever be grateful. The Lord continues till this day to bless me with good mental and physical health. The love, genuine care and concern that I've received from my family, friends, colleagues, nurses, doctors, and some total strangers have been overwhelming!

I would like to thank everyone who prayed for me for their prayers and well wishes, their uplifting testimony and sound advice. I would like to give a special thanks to my fearless leader, Bishop Omega, for his prayers, leadership and genuine concern. The love of Christ expressed by my brothers and sisters is like no other. I would be remiss to not single out my biological brothers and sisters for their undying love, support and prayers. To my father for his love, prayers and continued support, but in particular for my mother who seems to remain in prayer. The same mother, who a complete stranger in the street described one day when he walked up to me and said, "You must have a praying mother at home." I thank the Lord for her. And last but definitely not least, I thank my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

May the Good Lord continue to bless us all through Christ Jesus. Let us continue to pray for each other in Jesus's Name.

Dennis Bligen
@NickCannon  - Dennis had a successful transplant last summer. Pls email Julie at DBKFoundation@gmail.com to find out more info.
NeShell Monroe - Had a wonderful time at the Dennis Bligen Kidney Foundation's Gala
Denise Mason   - I had a great time at the DBKF Gift of Life Benefit. An amazing evening!
Kevin W Thorbourne   - Got to let you know that I just got on the NYU transplant list, which has a short waiting list, please give Dennis my regards!
Adam DiSpirito   - When is the next event? I promise we will make this one. Hope all is well with the Bligen Family.
Wendy Smith Atlanta, Georgia  - We were proud to participate in the 2013 DBKF Walk-a-thon.
The Dennis Bligen Kidney Foundation Wow! That's Awesome! Hey, have you been in touch with Dennis? You should call him.
Let me know if you need the number. I am so excited for you! God Bless! ~Laurie
The Dennis Bligen Kidney Foundation is a non-profit organization founded in honor of Dennis Bligen, who was diagnosed with chronic kidney disease in 2002.

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