Kidney recipient shaves beard after life saving donation

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ST. LOUIS (KPLR) - Last June, Joseph Dunsworth had his mind on more than a mustache.

'I have grown a small beard before but nothing like this,' says Joseph Dunsworth, kidney Recipient.

He began the beard after doctors told him he needed a kidney transplant to live. Dunsworth has been a diabetic since he was 11-years-old.

'Sometimes you just want to take it off.  But other times I really enjoyed it,' says Dunsworth.  'I had friends who grew their beards out with me.'

He, his wife and friends began wearing team kidney beard wristbands to support Dunsworth.

Their goal was to wear the band and the beard until his transplant.

Last Wednesday that became a reality and today the St. Louis University doctors and staff who treated him gathered to say bon voyage to the beard.

'Not only do I feel better from the new kidney but I also no longer have diabetes,' says Dunsworth.

You heard that right.

His diabetes has disappeared.

'As soon as blood goes through the kidney it starts creating urine,' says Dr. Peter Horton, SLU Director Kidney Pancreas Transplant Program.  'As soon as blood starts going through the new pancreas your blood sugars are essentially normal.  So by the time a patient leaves the operating room they're no longer diabetic.'

'Its mind blowing,' says Dunsworth.  'I can't even explain to you how much that changes.'

A welcome change for this kidney and pancreas recipient who is urging everyone to sign their donor card.

And that's coming from a clean shaven gentleman.

'Yeah he looks great,' says Julia Craig, Nurse.

'Yeah he looks good,' says Sherry Tenge, RN.  'He`s a little younger a little cleaner.  He looks great.'

And he feels great too.