Wife perfect match for husband's kidney transplant


by KING 5 News


Posted on November 26, 2010 at 12:01 PM

SEATTLE -- There's one husband and wife giving thanks like no other this holiday. They were given a rare second chance thanks to a perfect match.

Bob Oliver makes 3  trips a week to the dialysis center. He connects himself to the machine and knows without it, he'd be dead.

Bob spent his life working as a firefighter and deputy fire chief. He also teaches leadership skills.

But he admits, there was a time when his optimism cracked and despair set in. It was the day he was diagnosed with kidney failure.

"I was in complete denial to hear that news, my life was over. Really over," he says.

Bob and his wife Deb have been married 30 years, raised 4 kids. She too was rocked by the diagnosis.

"It was almost like a death sentence to us," she says.

But Deb came up with an idea to save his life.

"He's given me everything I've wanted. I'm thinking -- of course I'd give him my kidney," she says.

"Its just remarkable. And I actually fell in love with her even more. Its just a deeper love, that somebody is willing to do that," Bob says.

Deb turned out to be Bob's perfect match, but there was work to be done to get ready for surgery.

Deb worked out twice daily and lost 20 pounds. She inspired Bob to drop 50 pounds.

Four years after the diagnosis, their journey brought them here -- together.

The two surgeries at the University of Washington Medical Center will last all day.

First, doctors delicately harvest deb's kidney and then put it on ice as hours pass.

When Bob is finally ready, doctors rush Deb's kidney from her operating room, down the hall where Bob is in surgery.

And immediately, the kidney begins working as it should, cleaning Bob's blood.

Bob and Deb are now closer than ever.

"How much more intimate can you be when you're willing to share body parts?" he says.

Deb gave her husband much more than a kidney. Their marriage also has renewed life.

Bob and Deb are now planning a trip to celebrate the successful transplant and enjoy a second honeymoon.