The Canton Corner

Turning Tragedy into Triumph: Greg Hohenberger’s Story of Supporting a Co-Worker in Need

Turning Tragedy into Triumph: Greg Hohenberger’s Story of Supporting a Co-Worker in Need

by | May 8, 2023

Greg Hohenberger of Canton had a proud and positive outlook when he learned that his longtime co-worker needed a kidney. Even though he may not be a match, Hohenberger was determined to offer support. This desire was strengthened by the recent loss of a lifelong friend who passed away due to a battle with breast cancer. In this situation, Hohenberger felt powerless, but with the donation of an organ, he finally had the opportunity to help.

Hohenberger’s Selfless Act of Kindness

When longtime colleagues Abe Vinitski and Jim Hohenberger, both 20-plus year Canton Township employees, discovered that Vinitski would need some time off work once a kidney donor was identified, Hohenberger took it upon himself to immediately fill out a form indicating his interest in becoming a living kidney donor. His selfless action was not expected to yield anything in return, but he showed his commitment to his peer, displaying an unmistakable sense of pride and positivity.

Hohenberger Seizes Chance to Help Friend in Need

Vinitski was determined to keep his job and told his colleagues he would need some time off due to needing a kidney. When Hohenberger heard the news, he thought of Hope, a close friend who had passed away. The two couples co-purchased a boat and shared many summer hours on the lake. Inspired by his fond memories of Hope and her tenacity, Hohenberger seized the chance to help a friend in need – Vinitski.

Steve Hohenberger’s Selfless Act

When Abe was diagnosed with Chronic Kidney Disease, his friend Steve Hohenberger knew he had to act. After months of evaluations and medical tests, Steve was approved to donate a kidney – a selfless act that would go a long way in helping Abe and other CKD patients. On March 3rd, both men and their wives reported to the University of Michigan Hospital in Ann Arbor for the transplant surgery.

Chronic Kidney Disease is caused by diabetes and high blood pressure, according to the National Kidney Foundation. It is characterized by a gradual loss of kidney function, leaving people tired and sick. About 37 million Americans have CKD, with over 100,000 waiting for a kidney transplant.

Despite the long wait, a successful transplant can save a person’s life. The University of Michigan Hospital performs several kidney transplants each week, making it one of the leading hospitals in the country. In 2022, the Organ Procurement & Transplantation Network reported 25,499 kidney transplants were performed in the U.S., with 5,853 coming from living donors – a testament to the selfless acts of individuals like Steve Hohenberger.

Barrett encourages everyone to consider the gift of organ donation and the potential to bring life-saving miracles to those in need.

Hohenberger’s Generous Act of Donating a Kidney

Vinitski and Hohenberger have embarked on a journey to full recovery, with Vinitski spending three days in the hospital post-operation. His gratitude towards Hohenberger is unmatched, recognizing that his generous kidney donation saved his life. Despite the considerable amount of selflessness required, Hohenberger was more than willing to take the risk to help another person. It honestly took an immense amount of courage and strength to make such a noble decision, and indeed it’s not an easy feat – yet it’s worth every bit of effort.

Hohenberger could take a 10-mile walk post-operation, and he’s already looking forward to a good, long run. This shows resilience, determination, and strength of spirit – all qualities to be proud of.

Hohenberger made an incredible difference in Mr. Abe’s life and helped him gain the freedom to spend time with his family. These moments should be celebrated and cherished, as they exemplify what we can all accomplish when we come together.

Even though it wasn’t easy, it was worth the effort and commitment.

Though Hohenberger was not a match and was initially met without hope, he thought of Hope and strived to offer his existing consolation. Selfless, kind-hearted, and ever determined, Hohenberger’s strong display of positivity produced something far more enduring than a successful transplant. It invigorated an essential reminder that hope remains in even the direst situations. It bears emphasizing that kindness, optimism, and commitment to fellow human beings everywhere continue to make all the difference—none more so true than that embodied by Hohenberger in his extraordinary attempt to help a peer yet remain their calm centerpiece.

Learn More About Greg’s Story

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