It's hard to imagine what Birthday or Anniversary gift Steve Lerma will buy his wife Irma this year. What's a good gift to thank someone for their kidney and a second chance on life?
Well, that very question had Steve reaching out to KVUE to share his story and brag on his gracious wife.
In January, Steve was diagnosed with stage 4 kidney damage and told he'd need to get on a donor list and potentially begin dialysis. The decreased function in his kidneys had caused him to feel tired constantly and even hindered him to the point where he had to leave his job.
"I'm an electrician and I couldn't bend my conduit anymore.," he said. "I didn't have the strength anymore, I didn't have the vision anymore. It took something away from me. It took me to a deep dark place,"
Thankfully, his wife Irma was by his side.
"She was always encouraging me and pushing me not to give up," Steve said.
She event went so far as to find out if she could be a match.
"The doctor said he would probably find a match with like siblings or like his parents," Irma said. "We knew that that wasn't an option for him. So I asked her...could I? Could I maybe get tested? She said yeah you can but the chances of that happening are slim."
According to the Columbia Medical review, a sibling has about a 25 percent chance of being a direct match and that number drops drastically for folks who are not related.
Miraculously, Irma was a perfect match and six months later, on June 30, they both went into surgery.
"I feel like a whole new person," Steve said after the successful operations.
Irma had already been discharged from the hospital but planned to stay by Steve's side until they both could leave and start their second chance at life together.