A perfect match: Oakland doctor gave him a kidney after nine months of romance

EAST BAY TIMES | Tammerlin Drummond
Robert Phillips, left, and his wife Dr. Vanessa Grubbs are photographed in their home on Monday, July 17, 2017, in Oakland, Calif. Nine months after Vanessa Grubbs started dating Robert Phillips, she gave him one of her kidneys, and they married four months after the surgery in April 2005. (Aric Crabb/Bay Area News Group)
OAKLAND — After one short, bad marriage, Dr. Vanessa Grubbs had finally found Mr. Right. But a major obstacle stood in the way of the couple’s future. Her new boyfriend, Robert Phillips, had end-stage kidney disease and had been going through debilitating dialysis treatments for five years, waiting for a kidney transplant.

So, after just nine months of dating, Grubbs gave him one of hers. Phillips had a successful transplant in April 2005, and the couple got married four months later. It’s been 12 years, and Grubbs, 47, an associate professor of medicine at UC San Francisco, and Phillips, 44, who runs a Sacramento nonprofit, are still going strong.

“People are generally amazed that I gave him one of my kidneys after nine months of dating, but we had both been around the block a couple of times and knew what we were looking for and what we definitely didn’t want in a relationship,” said Grubbs. “Things moved pretty quickly.” Continue reading
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