To find Chad Brand on the Windom Country Club golf course on a marginal weather day in late October isn't uncommon. The 53-year-old lifelong Windom resident has enjoyed the game his entire life.
Getting in nine or 18 holes one last time before the gales of November and the flakes of December begin to blow and fall is nothing surprising for an avid golfer.
But this particular round will no doubt be a little more memorable than the thousands of rounds of links he's played throughout his life.
"I even birdied 6," he quickly notes with a smile, adding that he was mostly taking just half swings on many of his wood and iron shots that day.
But it wasn't the birdie that made it special. For the first time in a long time - even at half-speed - Chad played with renewed vigor, despite being less than six weeks removed from a life-saving and life-changing surgery.
On Sept. 19, Chad underwent a successful four-hour kidney transplant at Sanford USD Medical Center in Sioux Falls.
"Things are going great," he says, now healthy and 100% recovered from the transplant.
The cadaver donor kidney came from an individual somewhere in the southern part of the country and replaced his only kidney that was failing. Brand hadn't started dialysis, however, he learned that had a matching kidney not been found, it was quite likely that he would have needed to start dialysis by the end of the year. Surgeons prefer doing a transplant before the recipient has started dialysis.
For much more on Brand's kidney transplant, including ups and downs while waiting for a kidney, see the story on the front page of the Nov. 27 issue of the Cottonwood County Citizen on newsstands today.