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Geneva fire victim forges ahead despite challenges

Darlene Durgan has endured a difficult life.

At 18, her kidneys began to fail from what doctors later learned was polycystic kidney disease, a genetic disorder that causes fluid-filled cysts to grow in the organs.

At 19, her kidneys failed, leaving her faced with a lifetime of dialysis treatments.

At 40, and with both kidneys removed, she is still alive, something brother Glenn Durgan said is a testament to his sister’s will to live.

“Doctors said she was a walking miracle, that most people don’t live on dialysis for 20 years,” Glenn said.

But she has — and Darlene has the enduring respect of her brother.

“She’s the toughest person I know,” he said. “I would have folded long ago if I had gone through what she has.”

Now the North Country native, who came to Geneva in 2002 with her mother for what they believed was the region’s superior healthcare, is once again a survivor.

Durgan is recovering from significant injuries she suffered in a house fire at 24 Sherrill St. in Geneva on April 4. She suffered smoke inhalation, 12 broken ribs, broken bones in her back, and second- and third-degree burns.

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