“I want him to be able to see his kids grow up.”

Thanks to an extraordinary act of kindness, two parents who were once complete strangers to each other are now best friends.

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Chris Perez, 40, and Steve Sanders, 46, developed an unbreakable bond after the former donated a kidney to Steve, who suffers from a rare genetic condition known as uromodulin kidney disease (United kingdom).

Steve found that his kidneys were slowly deteriorating. And unless he had a transplant, he’d need dialysis for the rest of his life – something he didn’t want to do as a single father of two.

He explained, “I didn’t want to have dialysis… If you’re on dialysis, it’s a heavy burden on your body.”

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Despite his condition, Steve is healthy and very active. He regularly goes to the gym and loves to ride bikes, especially mountain biking.

However, kidney function gradually decreases.

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“We started talking a few years ago about, well, ‘you might need to consider a transplant if those numbers keep dropping — or dialysis,’” Steve said of his doctor’s comments.

He’s talked to people who’ve had dialysis, and they tell him they’re “tired” after each session.

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“Hearing how it affected their quality of life was scary for me,” he said.

So Steve decided to take matters into his own hands and set up a website to search for a kidney donor. He also made posts on social media, hoping that someone would see his request and respond to it.

In the end, their posts began to gain attention, with at least 26 people submitting documents to become donors. However, nothing really happened because the volunteers were not compliant or stopped the process early.

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Steve holds no grudges against those who renounced his help. “I don’t blame them for that,” he said. “I totally understand.”

However, the American was frustrated that nothing seemed to be going well. Steve thought he would have to start embracing the potential of dialysis at some point.

Fortunately, he didn’t need to! At the end of 2021, Steve received the news he had been waiting for so long – he had a compatible donor, finally.

“It was a complete relief. I was glad someone was willing to give me a chance.”

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Kris became aware of Steve’s situation through his wife in July 2021. One of her co-workers shared her story on social media and passed it on to Kris.

I asked if he was considering donating a kidney, and he said, “Sure, why not?”

A week later, his wife reminded him to fill out papers and medical documents. Chris began researching more about the kidney donation process, including its potential health and safety risks and how it would affect his quality of life.

“When I was satisfied with what I found,” he said, “I filled out these papers and sent them in.” “And a few weeks later, they called me to start the process.”

Steve was weird, but that didn’t stop Chris from wanting to help him, realizing he was a single parent. He said he would like someone to help him if he was in this situation.

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“It’s really scary thinking about it. Here’s this serious health issue that you can’t control and it’s not your fault, but it can seriously affect your quality of life and your ability to watch your kids grow up and spend time with them and the like.”

Chris also decided to donate his kidney to teach his children kindness and compassion.

“I always tell my kids that we need to work hard to be kind to others,” he explained. “I really believe that at the end of the day, our kindness and the way we empathize with others – that’s the legacy we leave behind after so long.”

Chris didn’t contact Steve until he was officially approved as a donor, so he wouldn’t raise anyone’s hopes if something didn’t work out.

After Chris passed all the tests, the hospital asked if he wanted to share his phone number with Steve, and he authorized it.

An unknown person donates a kidney to a single father with a rare disease:

Steve texted him the next day and asked to speak on the phone. The men expected to talk for 15 minutes, but ended up talking for more than two hours.

Steve said they had an “instant connection” and said Chris was “like an old friend.”

“It was like I had known this guy my whole life without ever meeting him. We clicked right away.”

The guys had many similarities, which helped them get along quickly. Their children had the same names; They have similar origins, and; They took the same course in college.

Coincidentally, Chris worked as the director of volunteer services at Atrium Health Carolina Medical Center, where his and Steve’s surgeries would be performed.

An unknown person donates a kidney to a single father with a rare disease:

In January 2022, the two men underwent their operation and the two visited each other while in hospital.

Even after the transplant, Steve and Chris continued their friendship, with the latter saying that they texted “almost daily.”

“I have a college, but I also have a good friend with it,” Steve said.

It is a real blessing to have someone willing to give a piece of themselves to extend their life. Both Steve and Chris hope their story will inspire others to consider becoming registered donors!

Learn more by watching the video below:

Source: Fox News
Photos: personal archive

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