Husband donates kidney to wife before 23rd anniversary

HOLLYWOOD, FLA. (WSVN) - A husband donated his kidney to his wife on the cusp of their anniversary.

Monica Calle, a Memorial Regional Hospital employee, and Cesar Calle met 23 years ago and have been in love ever since. When Monica needed a kidney, her husband did not hesitate to donate.

“Little did we know that 23 years ago, this was going to be the angel to save my life,” said Monica Calle.

Monica said about 10 years ago, she was diagnosed with polycystic kidney disease after giving birth to her third child. The disease required her to be on dialysis for eight and a half hours a night.

Monica described her routine and said, “So I had a steady routine where I would go to work, come home, cook dinner, take care of the kids and hook myself up,” said Monica. “I know that by 9:30 was my cutoff. I had to hook up by 9:30 to give myself plenty of time to be able to get up the next day and go to work.”

The transplant team at Memorial Regional Hospital completed the five-hour procedure on Feb. 19, which was the first for the new Memorial Transplant Institute. Doctors said it’s rare for a spouse to serve as a match for a kidney donation.

“A perfect match is only found in cases like identical twins — you have most of the time an identical match — parent-to-sibling, you may be lucky and have a 50 percent match and sibling-to-sibling a 25 percent match,” said Memorial Transplant Institute’s Chief Dr. Juan D. Arenas, “so to find a perfect match between two spouses is very unusual but very lucky for us to be able to find that.”

The surgery happened just before Monica and Cesar’s 23rd anniversary.

“God knew what He was doing when He put this man in my life,” said Monica.

Monica returned home four days after the surgery, sharing a bond with her husband Cesar that’s stronger than before.

“He’ll remind me, ‘You have a piece of me now,'” said Monica. “Just the thought that the day that I leave this earth, I’m going to leave with a piece of him inside of me.”

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