DALLAS, Texas -- "I'm trying to get off of using my cane," said 66-year-old Gene Edwards, leaning slightly on his wife. "My balance is getting better with this kidney and everything else."
But, the new kidney giving Edwards renewed energy didn't come from his wife. At least, not directly.
In August, Gene received a Good Samaritan's kidney. That same day, his wife, Debra, paid the good deed forward, by donating her own healthy kidney to another stranger in need.
"I wanted him to live," Debra said. "And I wanted to be with him as long as I could."
About a third of all interested, living kidney donors, like Debra, are not compatible with their intended recipient, according to the transplant services division of Baylor Health Care System.
An organ swap, called a "paired kidney donation," involves a network of similar willing donors across the country. Sometimes many donors and recipients are included.
Baylor Dallas has now participated in a half-dozen such organ donation chains.
"I don't have any words to describe how grateful I am," Gene said. "Giving to a stranger allowed someone to give to me. My love for Debra was extremely deep before then. Now, I cannot describe how I feel about her."
Because of his wife's generosity, Gene Edwards now has a chance to see his children and grandchildren grow up, and complete the circle of life.
To learn more about paired kidney donations, visit the Alliance for Paired Donation website at this link.