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Brother agrees to donate kidney

You would be hard-pressed to find a family tighter than the Demés.

When Chris Demé, 45, of Penn Valley, heard that his brother needed a kidney because of failure due to the rare Alport Syndrome, he didn’t hesistate to offer. Brother Robert Demé wasn’t shocked because of the family’s penchant to hang together, but he was still mightily impressed.

“There’s not enough world to show how much I love him and appreciate what he’s doing,” Robert, 46, of Grass Valley, said of his donor brother. “As soon as he found out, he jumped right on it.”



According to Robert, their older brother, Larry, died of the disease in 1983. Alport Syndrome is a group of kidney disorders that can damage them, and in severe cases such as Robert’s, call for kidney dialysis or a transplant.

Robert could probably live with the dialysis treatments he takes every night by hooking himself to a machine next to his bed. But life would be fuller and easier without the treatments, which Chris’ kidney could deliver.




Robert is set to get Chris’ kidney in San Francisco in mid-March, but they are trying to get it done at the UC-Davis Medical Center to cut down on commutes.

Chris’ wife, Jennifer Demé, is not surprised that her husband is giving his kidney up for his brother. She said their mother and father, Lawrence and Janet Demé, of Yuba City, raised their five boys “to be loving to each other. Being French, we kiss and hug a lot, and I’m proud to be a part of it.”

Jennifer said he has no fears with the kidney removal and transplant because, “I know God is watching over us.”

According to Janet, “We raised our boys that family is all there is, without family, you have nothing.”

As for Chris giving up his kidney, “It’s brotherly love, that’s all it is,” Janet said.

Despite all that love, “I’m getting nervous because it’s getting closer,” Robert said. “But after what my brother (Larry) went through, well, he didn’t have the future I have with the technology.”

Larry died in 1983 when he was just 23, “and his kidneys were completely failed. He had a cadaver donor; I have a live donor and that’s very much better,” Robert said.

“My hat is off to him and he would have it no other way,” Jennifer said of her husband donor Chris. “He would do anything for his family.”

According to Robert, it has always been that way.”We’re very close,” he said of his family and brother. “It doesn’t matter if it’s good or bad, we’re all close and tight-knit.

“You hear that old saying about giving your shirt? We all do that, we don’t question it.”

To help with finances, the family is holding a Spaghetti Feed fundraiser from 4 to 7 p.m. Saturday at the Penn Valley Fire Station at Penn Valley Drive and Spenceville Road. Tickets are $10 for adults and $5 for children 12 and under. There will also be a raffle, with tickets to a Keith Urban concert as first prize.

To contact Senior Staff Writer Dave Moller, e-mail davem@theunion.com or call 477-4237.

What: Spahetti Feed for Robert Demé.

When: 4 to 7 p.m. Saturday.

Where: Penn Valley Fire Station at Penn Valley Drive and Spenceville Road.

Why: To help defray costs for Robert’s kidney transplant.


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