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A single father in North Carolina with a rare kidney disease found a fast and powerful friendship with his donor — a complete stranger.
Steve Sanders, 46, has long suffered from an uncommon genetic condition called uromodulin kidney disease (UKD), that would eventually require daily dialysis treatments.
The father of two desperately searched for a kidney through a website he created and social media platforms. After a year and a half of searching for a donor, Sanders found a perfect match in Chris Perez, 40, who responded to the posts, according to a Fox News report.
“I did not want to go on dialysis … as an active father of two young kids,” Sanders told Fox News Digital. “If you go on dialysis, it’s really taxing on your body.”
Perez, the director of volunteer services at Atrium Health Carolinas Medical Center, said he had found out about Sanders’ plight from his wife, who had read about Sanders’ story.
“I couldn’t help but really think deeply about if it was me in that situation,” Perez said. “I’d really want someone to do it for me.”
After Perez was approved for the transplant, Sanders said he felt “an immediate connection” with him when the two first spoke on the phone.
Since Sanders’ surgery, which took place in January, the two men have spoken on a daily basis, according to a news release from Atrium Health.
“I got a kidney, but I also got a really great friend out of this,” said Sanders.