Perfect match: Woman donates kidney to husband diagnosed with chronic disease

MIAMI (WSVN) - They’ve been together for almost two decades, but it was only recently that a husband and wife discovered they’re a perfect match in a life-saving way.

From prom to babies, Gabriela and Abel Valdes have stood side by side.

“I went with her to her prom, and we’ve just been together ever since,” said Abel during during a news conference at Jackson Memorial Hospital, Thursday.

While Gabriela was pregnant with their third child, Abel was diagnosed a chronic kidney disease.

After his diagnosis, Abel’s health continued to deteriorate. He eventually went on dialysis, which took a major toll on his body.

The next step was open-heart surgery.

It was a terrifying time for the family. “That was actually the moment when his cardiothoracic surgeon, Dr. Salerno, sat with me and said, ‘He needs a kidney,'” said Gabriela.

The couple was referred to the Miami Transplant Institute.

Gabriela was told she could potentially be a match for her husband. She took a blood test and found out that she was, in fact, a perfect match.

“To be honest it, was like, ‘Yay! Oh my God, really? Like, how is this possible?'” she said.

Abel said at first, he was hesitant about letting his wife go through with it.

“Initially, I didn’t want her to do it, because I know it was painful,” he said, “and with the three kids, I didn’t want her to be risking anything.”

But for her, it was a no-brainer.

“I didn’t think that I would ever possibly be a match, so I didn’t even put any mind into it,” she said, “until I realized that that was a possibility, and then there was nothing else to it. He’s my husband. He has to live.”

Two weeks have passed since the surgery — and for them, it’s all still a little surreal.

“There’s nothing I can do to hold up to that. So, you know, I’m always thankful,” said Abel.

Now that the couple is back home with their family and feeling better, they are planning on traveling and getting to some of their bucket-list destinations. Next on their list: New York City and the Grand Canyon.

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