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Saving a Veteran's Life Through Kidney Donation

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (Dakota News Now) - Jill Pinkelman's kidney donation journey began after reading about “DOVE- Donor Outreach for Veterans,” in an article in Women’s Day Magazine. “Something just clicked after reading that. I thought about it for a month afterward, then just finally told my husband I’m going to check out this organization and I’m going to sign up,” Pinkelman said. Within six months of signing up, she had found a match and met Dr. Sujit Sakpal for surgery.

“She had no recipient on her side, it’s not like she was giving for someone in her family, or one of her friends to get a kidney. It’s simply just going forward and donating a kidney to whoever benefits from it,” Dr. Sujit Sakpal said, Avera critical care, transplantation & surgery team member. Dr. Sakpal recognized the sacrifice that Pinkelman made with this decision.“It’s selflessness. She wants to give something without wanting to get anything back. She recognizes the efforts and dedication that are put in by veterans, so she finds a way to give back. It’s exemplary, it’s beyond inspirational,” Dr. Sakpal said.

Her recipient was New Jersey resident, Veteran and grandfather, Robert “Budd” Springer. “Seeing each other for the first time, touching and feeling the interaction; we’re connected for the rest of our lives,” Pinkelman said. You can watch the entire news story HERE.

Dr. Sakpal also discussed the paired kidney exchange program that Avera has been a part of since 2018. You can learn more about that program HERE.


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