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Living to Tell: Why we wrote this book

Strength through illness

Russell Sublette, 53, holds his Gift of Life Donor Program medal, which was given to him by the family that donated their daughter's kidney. Sublette said his main job is taking care of that kidney, managing 18 prescriptions to keep his body from fighting it off, watching his diet and exercising Photo: Lindsey Bever.

Russell Sublette lives art.

He has been a preparator at the Dallas Museum of Art for more than 30 years, creating mounts for pieces from Congolese sculptures to antique stained-glass doors. That’s him.

Then 14 years ago, Russell went on dialysis. He was told his career could be over once his kidneys began to fail. But it wasn’t. He continued to work during dialysis, which lasted about two years.

“It just became an exercise of willpower because my energy was gone,” said Russell, 53.

At the time, Russell would finish his work at the DMA, take a bus to the hospital for his dialysis treatments and then head home to his wife, Ivy, who was battling breast cancer.

“It was really tough,” Ivy said, “but I knew if he could make it, I could make it. And that’s kind of what we held onto: ‘We’re going to do it. We’re going to make it.’ ”

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