Kyle Froelich was diagnosed with a fatal kidney disease when he was 12 years old. His doctors didn’t think he’d live past his senior year at Brownsburg High School -- unless he got a transplant. Almost 100 friends and family members got tested to see if they were a match, but none were close enough to risk the surgery.
At 19 years old, he’d been on dialysis for a year, and his kidneys were essentially non-functioning. He was sick, very sick, and had all but given up hope that a match would ever be found.
Enter Chelsea Clair, then 22, who had heard about Kyle’s plight and was touched enough to volunteer at a fundraiser to cover the costs of his out-of-pocket medical expenses. When they met, she said, “I’m going to give you my kidney.”
They ended up being a perfect match. Chelsea decided to donate her kidney to Kyle, even though it strained some personal relationships in her life. He family told her, “Chelsea … you can’t just go to Wal-Mart and buy a kidney.”
When the doctors performed the surgery, Chelsea’s kidney started working right away in Kyle’s body. When they each came out of the anesthesia, their first concern was for the other. When she woke up, she asked, “Is Kyle OK?” and he wanted to know, “How’s Chelsea?”
The couple ended up being a match in more ways than one -- they were married on October 12. The couple, now 23 and 26, also share two children, an 11-month old son Wyatt, and 6-year-old Aby (Chelsea’s daughter from a previous relationship).
Kyle said, “There’s a bond that no one else, unless they’ve done it, can know … She’s my best friend.”
“He’s carrying around my kidney,” said Clair. “I have to make sure he takes care of that.”
The tension between Chelsea and her family at the time of the transplant has all but abated. Her mom was ultimately unsurprised by her daughter’s altruism, and her aunt performed the marriage ceremony.
Such a sweet story! I wish them nothing but happiness and health in the years to come.
Have you considered donating an organ? Do you know someone that has? Have you ever done it?
Image via John Smith/Corbis