Husband Donates Kidney To Wife For 23rd Wedding Anniversary


A South Florida couple marked their 23rd wedding anniversary by undergoing a live kidney transplant as husband Cesar Calle gave his wife Monica relief from a painful hereditary disease.

Cesar, 52, and Monica, 39, of Weston, Florida, decided to take part in Memorial Regional Hospital’s first-ever live kidney transplant on February 19 as it was streamed on Facebook ahead of their 23rd anniversary this week, the Sun-Sentinel reported. More than 30 health care workers at the Hollywood, Florida, hospital took part in the surgery. Team leader Dr. Juan Arenas said the surgery was particularly rare because most spouses aren’t able to match for a donor transplant. Lab tests in December showed that not only were the couple compatible, but so were their blood types and antigens.

“Little did we know 23 years ago that this was going to be the angel to save my life,” Monica told the Sun-Sentinel. “I felt like I just won the lottery. I started dreaming of what my future would look like, not having to do dialysis. The fact that I can actually travel now and not worry about carrying boxes with me or supplies or worry if it’s gonna get lost. I felt so free.”

Monica said she was diagnosed nearly 10 years ago with a polycystic kidney disease she inherited from her mother. She required nightly dialysis and experienced pain for more than 32 months that almost made her give up treatment altogether.

The couple was told that not only would the two and a half hour surgery be difficult, but so would the emotional preparation for knowing one of the kidneys might not work after the transplant. Doctors said the two had “great attitudes” and were “very positive” throughout the entire process. Upon learning he was compatible for the transplant surgery, Cesar said he still needed to pause for a moment.

“For me to do this, it was big. I was shocked. [I thought] it’s not real, this is not happening,” he told the Sun-Sentinel. Cesar also praised the Memorial Transplant Institute, “That’s reborn faith, you might call it. It brings me joy and happiness.”

The couple have recovered and planned to officially celebrate their 23rd wedding anniversary Thursday.

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