Alexis and Charles Wesley make history, each donate kidney through program

8:19 PM, Oct 14, 2013   |    comments
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By Walter Morris

SAN DIEGO (KSWB/CNN) - A San Diego husband and wife have made history. They are the first couple in the country to each donate a kidney through a national program.

"Saving your kidney for a rainy day is like saving your fire extinguisher while watching your neighbor's house burn," said Alexis Wesley.

It's that type of thinking that lead Alexis and her husband, Charles, to the hospital room. She donated one of her kidneys Monday night.

"It is really easy and a really, really simple way to save someone's life," said Alexis.

The impact of her decision is anything but simple. Alexis and Charles Wesley are now the first couple in the U.S. to each donate a kidney through the National Kidney Registry. The non-profit connects patients who aren't compatible through exchanges. The Wesley's donation set in motion a series of transplants across the country saving 10 people they've never met.

"No I don't really need to meet the person. I just wanted to know if his transplant was successful," said Alexis.

You may be wondering why they did it? Well the couple relies a lot on faith and their family has received a lot of medical help themselves. Both of their children have a rare joint disorder they've had several free surgeries to help them walk.

"You give up maybe three or four weeks of your life in terms of having to go through recovery but you can extend someone else's life by 10 or 15 years I really wanted to be the person that was willing to do that," said Charles.

Charles had surgery in April 2012, and thanks to a less invasive technique, he was back to normal in two months.

"We take the kidney out through a couple of keyhole incisions and people go home in two days," said Dr. Barry Browne, surgical director of transplantation.

Alexis says she already feels great and she hopes more people look into donating.

"If you're kidney is going to go they're going to go both at once. They're not going to high-five and one goes and one stays and you're fine. Kidney disease is usually both at once so there's no reason to save one," said Alexis.


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