Monica and Cesar Calle of Weston, Florida, share everything. Now, the couple who are celebrating their 23rd wedding anniversary also share a kidney. Cesar donated the organ to his wife, Monica, who suffered from polycystic kidney disease.
The February 19 transplant was not only a success for Monica, but also for Memorial Regional Hospital in Hollywood, Florida. The surgery, which was streamed live on FaceBook, marked the first live-donor kidney transplant for the Memorial Transplant Institute. The hospital will serve the kidney and heart transplant needs of South Florida.
Monica, 39, is a Memorial Regional Hospital employee. She had been suffering from the painful effects of polycystic kidney disease for ten years. She underwent nightly dialysis and experienced pain for nearly three years that almost caused her to give up treatment completely.
“I was in a lot of pain, I was scared,” she said, “and I didn’t know if there was gonna be a miracle for me.”
Husband Cesar, 52, offered to donate one of his kidneys to his wife. Good news arrived in December when the devoted couple learned they were a match, not only in life, but also in kidneys!
Surgeon and chief of the hospital’s Memorial Transplant Institute, Dr. Juan Arenas, said, “To find a match between spouses is very unusual but very lucky for us to be able to find that.”
The staff of the South Florida hospital was overjoyed with the results and celebrated the couple’s discharge with cake and balloons.
Monica says she feels like she just won the lottery. The grateful wife is dreaming of a future without dialysis. What once seemed out of reach has become reality. Monica says, “I feel so free.”
Reflecting back on the successful surgery and selfless donation, Monica said, “Little did we know 23 years ago that this [Cesar] was going to be the angel to save my life.”
As for her husband Cesar, we’re pretty certain he won’t ever top this year’s anniversary gift.