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Wear The Gown: The benefits of becoming a living donor

A living donor's organ can last more than twice as long as one from a deceased donor.

SAN ANTONIO — We don’t think twice about holding a door open for a stranger, but would you be willing to give one of your organs to someone you don’t know? In this Wear The we found out that by becoming a living donor not only can you save two lives, but your living organ will last twice as long and give the recipient many more years of a better quality of life than if they waited for a deceased donor.

"My health was slowly declining due to my kidney disease. I was put on dialysis in April of 2019," said Leticia Hernandez who needed a new kidney. That's where her husband Wes stepped in. 

"I went to go get myself checked in, you know, then I found out that I was a perfect match," he said.

But before surgery they got a call from the University Health Transplant Center about their organ exchange program. 

"They had found someone that my husband would be a perfect match for. And they also found someone that was also a better match for me," Leticia said. "And if we were if we would be willing to do the exchange to not only do for us and another but, we can create a change where we can help other people."

That other person needing a kidney was Cynthia Martinez who was hoping to get a kidney from her daughter Athena. 

"So initially we were told that we were a match. We have the same blood type," Athena told us.

But because of antibodies that could cause rejection of the organ doctors said it wasn't safe. But the transplant center put them in the pool and Cynthia matched with Wes. She didn't know it was him, but prayed regardless. 

"Hoping that their surgery was successful and that they had a good recovery," Cynthia said.  

Almost two years after receiving her kidney, she finally found out it that Wes was the one who saved her life at an emotional reveal ceremony. 

"It's the most unselfish, courageous thing for them to do and save more than one life," Cynthia said. "They save whoever they're on behalf of." 

"I just felt that it was the right thing to do," Wes Martinez said. "To pay it forward."

"For more information on becoming a living organ donor, visit here.

And for more information about family health call 210-358-3045. You can also find the rest of Wear The Gown stories, just go to WearTheGown.com.