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From ski transplant to organ transplants

Published December 31, 2011 4:59 pm

This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2011, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Partway through a 10-day ski trip to Utah in the winter of 1979-80, Brookfield, Wis.-native Joan Campbell Arata decided she was moving here.

"I had always wanted to ski in the West," Arata said. "What got me were the beautiful mountains and the blue skies and the fact that great skiing was so close to a city where I could have a decent career. It was just a no-brainer."

So when a friend got married in Moab the next summer, she drove out to the wedding (with her good buddy, Renee Reidel) and then came north to Salt Lake City to look for work as a nurse.

"Nurses were in great demand, so we easily found jobs," said Arata, who started on the surgical floor at LDS Hospital. "The rest is history — work, friends, dog, house, husband [Greg Arata, owner of Junior's Tavern in downtown Salt Lake City], two kids, more work, and I have skied every season since 1980."

Her work has been in two noteworthy medical programs. In 1984, she became coordinator of LDS Hospital's kidney-transplant program, later expanded to include liver and pancreas transplants. And for the past couple of years, Arata has managed two outpatient clinics at Huntsman Cancer Institute.

"How lucky have I been?" she asks rhetorically, "to work in two wonderful places like that with two wonderful programs?"

A side note: Her friend Renee later became the mother of two Olympians, twins Eric and Brett Camerota, members of the U.S. Nordic combined team. Brett won a silver medal at the 2010 Vancouver Games.