Giving up can actually be life-changing. 8 On Your Side is finding people who’ve made huge sacrifices for their own benefit or the benefit of others.
One Tampa Bay woman saved a life through an incredible gift – she gave up one of her organs.
In the mid-1990s, Crystal and Brett Wallace instantly bonded. Their journey as a couple has been a fun ride, until 2010 when Brett Wallace was diagnosed with Stage 5 kidney failure.
“I just went on with life not realizing I was getting sicker and sicker and sicker and I was getting weaker and weaker and weaker,” Brett said. He could potentially wait years for a donor or spend the rest of his days on dialysis.
Tampa General Hospital is one of the leaders in Florida for living donor transplants. Nationwide, more than 100,000 people are waiting for a kidney, and yet there are millions of potential matches walking around every day.
So Crystal Wallace got tested, and learned her kidney was a match. So for her, it was a no-brainer. She was going to give up one of her kidneys.
Brett was stunned when he realized the news. He said, “It was kinda shocking, definitely.”
In February, Crystal went under the knife to give her husband the greatest gift she possibly could offer.
“There’s no better donation than life. I mean, you can’t put a price on that,” she said.
Brett Wallace is now still alive thanks to her. “I’ve had some ups and downs, but as for my kidney function its coming back just as yours would.”
Crystal Wallace is just as healthy as ever, and happy that her sacrifice means Brett can stay by her side. “I’m very thankful to have been able to save my best friend’s life,” she said.
Crystal and Brett wanted to share this story to show others that young or old, anyone is able to donate a kidney, and it’s a gift that can make a world of difference. Experts at Tampa General Hospital say living donor transplants are more successful than organs from the deceased. That’s because there’s a less chance of the body rejecting it.
Donors and patients do not need to be related; they don’t even need to know each other.
For more information on how this works, visit Tampa General Hospital Living Kidney Donor Program.
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