A man in Texas gave his wife of 51 years the “ultimate present” this year: his own kidney.
Peggy Nipper suffers from polycystic kidney disease (PKD), an inherited disease that leads to kidney failure. This fall, one of Peggy’s kidneys was down to only 14 percent functionality, and it was time for a transplant.
While it is typically difficult to get on the transplant list, especially for patients over that age of 70, it turned out that Peggy, 74, didn’t have to look very far. Her husband, Mike Nipper, was a perfect match, and the couple underwent the transplant process in November at the Kidney Transplant Center at St. David’s North Austin Medical Center.
“We didn’t even think there was a possibility for him to be a direct match,” Peggy, whose mother died from the disease and whose brother is also inflicted with PKD, said in an interview with CNN.
Peggy said that they never imagined they’d be able to find a “direct match” for her blood and antigens so easily.
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“If you carry babies from your husband, your blood has been mixed and very often you develop antigens against that blood because of bearing children,” she explained. “So we didn’t even know it was a possibility.”
But luckily, Mike’s blood type and antigen tissue matched perfectly.
“It was quite a gift,” Peggy, now in recovery from the procedure, added of her husband’s kidney.
“I don’t think he has to give me another gift for the rest of my life,” she said. “This was the ultimate present.”
But Mike was more than happy to provide his wife with the life-saving organ.
“We’re different people, I’m from Mars and she’s from Venus, but our differences will always complement each other,” Mike told CNN.
“I think I’m really committed now,” he added. “We promised each other, in sickness and in health until death do us part, and that’s how it’s going to be. We’re just trying to extend that death do us part for as long as we can.”
There are more than 200,000 cases of PKD in the United States per year.