John was diagnosed with Alport syndrome when he was a baby. As is typical with many families affected by Alport syndrome, John is not the only family member with the disease. Four other family members had received kidney transplants as a result of an Alport diagnosis.
When John met Carolyn and they started dating, John told her about his condition and that he would eventually need a kidney transplant. Carolyn didn‘t see it as an obstacle in their relationship. It was just something they would face together.
Over dinner with Carolyn‘s parents one night in early 2013, they discussed the necessity of finding a kidney donor in the near future. John had already been on the kidney transplant waiting list for several years. When John mentioned his blood type, Carolyn‘s mother, April, felt she might be a good donor match. Without telling John, she regularly traveled several hours each way to the transplant hospital to undergo a series of tests to determine whether she was a match. In the meantime, John‘s condition deteriorated and he began dialysis treatments 3-4 times per week. In August 2013, John and Carolyn became engaged and in September April found out she was a match. She and Carolyn gave John the news while he was receiving his dialysis treatment.
“That was a pretty powerful moment, to hear I had a donor and it was my future mother-in-law,“ John said. “I still can‘t quite wrap my head around it. I not only found the love of my life, I found someone in her family to give me another chance in life.“
John received one of April‘s kidneys in October 2013. John calls it “the best wedding present we could have ever gotten.“ The wedding is planned for July 2014.
Adapted from a story originally published by the Post Independent.