Thousands of people across the country wait for life-saving organ donations every day. Some patients wait years, while others are sometimes fortunate to find the organ they need right in their home.
When Kevin and Carol Dahly got married, they took vows to be together in sickness and in health. In 2008, Kevin discovered he would need a kidney transplant, and Carol stood by her word.
"I was born with a hereditary disease, polycystic kidneys," said Kevin. "My mom had it and I received it at birth. You`re born with it and it`s not supposed to take place until mid 50s, early 60s, but I was unfortunate enough to have it hit me sooner."
Carol was nervous about donating until she learned how much a living donation would benefit her husband. "I really didn`t decide to be a donor until I heard the difference between a cadaver kidney and a live transplant," she said. "I didn`t want to go through this again in my lifetime, so I was willing to sign up."
On May 11, Kevin and Carol arrived at Medcenter One for the transplant. Surgeons began operating on Carol, and then halfway through began surgery on Kevin. Carol`s kidney was flushed and put into her husband`s body.
"I`m just amazed at the human body as far as having a part you can donate to help somebody have a better quality of life," said Carol. "Going to the dialysis lab is totally depressing. You see these people dependent on that machine."
"I think it`s wonderful. I was blessed. Her being a match, I can`t say enough about what she did," said Kevin.
Two weeks post-op, Kevin and Carol have had their last follow-up appointment. The couple is feeling well and looking forward to years of continued health. With the operation behind them, it`s safe to say Kevin knows he has his wife`s heart -- and her kidney.
Both Kevin and Carol feel strongly about organ donation following their experience. They both say they hope people will educate themselves so they can realize the potential they have to help others. You can learn more by visiting transplantliving.org.