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Dialysis patient celebrates 100th birthday

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NORTH KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- The U.S. has an epidemic of kidney failure with much of it resulting from diabetes and high blood pressure. People with it must decide whether to go on dialysis to survive. A Northland woman decided to start the treatments nearly five years ago. Now, she's reached quite a milestone.

Before Margaret Boetger heard the applause and saw the cake, she had a feeling.

"I just had a feeling something was going on, but I thought naw, they wouldn't do that," said Boetger.

She was kidding her friends at DaVita's Northland Clinic.

"Everyone wants to be around her. She's just got this incredible personality. She draws people to her." said Angie Hill, the clinic administrator.

She shows that personality as blood is drawn out, cleansed and drawn back into her body twice a week.

Boetger is a dialysis patient celebrating her 100th birthday. Suffice it to say that's rare, although no one keeps such statistics.

"I think you gotta love life," she said.

Boetger chose dialysis nearly five years ago when her one kidney failed. She'd lost the other to cancer. Many others her age would have chosen end-of-life care instead.

"Dialysis can be very hard on your body. Also, it's a commitment," said Hill.

"My family said, 'Do we really want to put her through that at this point in her life?'" said Boetger's daughter, Mary Shields.

It's time-consuming, expensive treatment. But it just made sense for the savvy senior who has a Kindle in her lap.

"I think this Facebook -- I'm on it half the time. More than that probably," said Boetger.

Her daughter said coming to dialysis has done more than keep Boetger alive. It's helped keep her lively.

"This is more of a social event, really, for her. She dresses up to come here and puts on her jewelry," said Shields.

"Nicest bunch of people here. I just love 'em," Boetger said.

And with the treatment they provided this week, she was ready for two more celebrations of her 100th birthday. The second party was Friday with family and friends at a casino. The third party will be Saturday at her church. Next weekend, Boetger is going to a car show in Springfield.