• Kathryn Alldaffer

Author: Robert Simenson


Meet Robert Simenson. Robert has lived in Maple Grove for 28 years, and retired from his position at UnitedHealthGroup / Optum in March, 2019. In 2020, he published his first book, My Son's Gift: Our Journey Through Kidney Transplant Surgery.


Robert was inspired to write his book after kidney transplant surgery. During the process there were so many things that happened - happy, sad, heart-warming, and heart-wrenching, he felt inclined to put it all to paper.


He got sick in the fourth grade, and it was discovered that he had a rare blood disease that caused progressive kidney damage. Years later, when Robert was diagnosed with kidney failure, his son volunteered to donate a kidney to him.


Robert’s book is a good resource for people facing organ transplant, showing them how to advocate for themselves and revealing his own story, or anyone facing a personal challenge. His book is getting great reviews! My Son’s Gift was self published to amazon.com in print and also eBook, and is available on the shelves of Barnes and Noble as well as their website. You can visit Robert’s website at www.mysonsgift.com for more content, pictures, his blog, and additional book purchase options.


Q: What inspired you or led you to your current career?

A: I spent my career as an Information Technology Leader, with my interest starting in classes I took at the University of Minnesota - Duluth.


Q: What volunteer work have you done or are you doing?

A: I volunteer for the National Kidney Foundation in their fundraising (Kidney Walk) and advocacy (visiting with Legislators at the State Capitol) efforts.


Q: If you could choose one age to be forever, what age would it be and why?

A: I still feel pretty young, but about twenty years younger would be good!


Q: If you could travel anywhere in the world right now (and it were safe to do so), where would it be? And why?

A: Switzerland. Lately I've been inspired seeing pictures of the towns nestled in the mountains.


Q: What is your favorite movie OR what is the first movie you remember seeing in a theatre? Anything you want to say about the movie?

A: There are several. But one would be The Right Stuff, from the book by Tom Wolfe, about the beginnings of the United States Space Program. It was inspiring to see the challenges they faced and how they overcame them.


Q: What is something on your bucket list?

A: To play at St. Andrews Golf Links in Scotland.


Q: What is the one TV show you can’t miss?

A: Vikings on The History Channel. I have traced part of my lineage back to Vikings in Norway.


Q: What was the last book you read? Would you recommend it to others?

A: The Grand Slam: Bobby Jones, America, and the Story of Golf. I’d definitely recommend it to any golfer, or someone interested in reading about the United States during the pre- and post-WWI era.


Q: What current or former local business makes you the most nostalgic about Maple Grove? Please share the memory of that local business that makes it nostalgic for you.

A: Fuddruckers. We visited there many times as a family and I held my youth baseball team banquets there when I coached for OMGAA.


Q: What’s the coolest or most interesting thing you’re working on right now?

A: Promoting my book, My Son's Gift: Our Journey Through Kidney Transplant Surgery.


Q: Choosing anyone alive and a non-relative: with whom would you love to have lunch? Why? Where in Maple Grove would you have lunch?

A: So many here as well, while no longer living Bruce Lee would be someone very interesting to visit with and discuss his martial arts philosophy. You'd have to go more upscale so maybe Pittsburgh Blue.


Q: What is your favorite thing or something unique about Maple Grove?

A: All the space the city has set aside from development - including the Arbor Preservation areas and Central Park.


Q: Where do you see yourself in 5 or 10 years?

A: Enjoying life, golfing, and traveling.


Q: What is your proudest accomplishment?

A: I've had several, but achieving 6th degree black belt at USA Karate (formerly Maple Grove, now Plymouth) is certainly one of them.


Q: What is something interesting that most people don’t know about you?

A: I had a golf hole-in-one when I was 16 years old, and it was the first ever at Chisago Lakes GC in the town where I grew up, Lindstrom, Minnesota.


Q: What 3 words or phrases come to mind when you think of the word HOME?

A: Relax, recharge, sanctuary.


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