Anderson, longtime dialysis survivor

January 22, 1994|By Fred Rasmussen | Fred Rasmussen,Staff Writer

Kevin C. Anderson, one of the longest-living dialysis patients in the United States, died Wednesday of internal bleeding at the University of Maryland Medical Center. The resident of Ten Hills in Baltimore was 52.

He was stricken with kidney disease four days before his 26th birthday and underwent hemodialysis two to three times a week for more than 20 years, until he received a kidney transplant 2 1/2 years ago.

"He waited 11 years for a kidney," recalled the former Marta Lopategue of San Juan, Puerto Rico, whom Mr. Anderson married in 1964.

"It was a nightmare. I fell apart. I felt like I had died. You go nTC through all the symptoms they describe for dying -- you deny it, then you make a bargain with God," she said in a 1987 interview in The Sun. "He never gave up or complained. He would come home from work and spend 10 hours on the dialysis machine and then go back to work the next day."

"He wanted to give courage to those who were waiting for transplants. He used to say, 'You can make it, and you can live a normal life,' " Mrs. Anderson said this week.

"His son Kevin, who is a graduate student at the University of Louisville, wrote him a letter not long ago that said: 'You'll never be president and maybe many people won't hear of you, but to me you're one of the greatest and most courageous individuals I've ever met,' " Mr. Anderson's wife read from Kevin C. Anderson Jr.'s letter.

"He was one of the longest-living dialysis patients in the U.S.," said Dr. John H. Sadler, who retired last year as head of the nephrology unit at the medical center and is now an associate professor at the medical school.

"The word that comes to mind to describe him is indomitable," Dr. Sadler said. "He simply never gave up. He raised a family and was an active member of his church and community. He was determined to lead an active physical and normal life. He was an exemplary individual.

"He was not only my patient, but like a member of my family," Dr. Sadler said. "He's the kind of person everyone wants to know. He drew cheer out of ordinary circumstances, and he wouldn't allow things to get him down."

Mr. Anderson was born in Teaneck, N.J., and attended schools there, graduating from high school in 1959. He earned his bachelor's degree from Manhattan College in New York City in 1963, then attended Stevens Institute of Technology in Hoboken, N.J.

He was a computer consultant for Unysis Corp., designing computer systems for corporations, from 1971 until 1986, when he took a disability retirement because of his illness.

He was active in the affairs of St. William of York Roman Catholic Church and enjoyed gardening, reading and working with computers in his spare time.

A Mass of Christian burial will be offered at 11 a.m. today at St. William of York Church, 4900 Edmondson Ave., with interment at Lorraine Park Cemetery.

Survivors include another son, David J. Anderson of Baltimore; and two sisters, Patricia Peterson and Genevieve Anderson, both of New Port Richey, Fla.

Memorial donations may be made to the Kidney Foundation or the Diabetes Foundation.

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