EBENSBURG (KDKA) — An Ebensburg man is in need desperate of a kidney transplant. He has polycystic kidney disease and doctors had not found a donor, until now.
Mike and Lori Bracken have been together for more than half their lives. They fell in love, got married and have a beautiful family.
“I knew 20 years ago she was special. I don’t know what to say now!” Mike said laughing.
Every marriage has its troubles. For the Bracken, it was Mike’s kidney disease.
“I have what’s called polycystic kidneys, cysts grow on your kidneys and shut your kidney down,” says Mike.
“We knew some day it was going to come to this, but we never thought he’d be so young,” Lori said. “His dad was in his 60s before he had any trouble.”
Mike’s health quickly declined. The father of three went on the kidney transplant list in 2012, but he knew it could be years before he got a match.
“I am on dialysis; my third week, just started that,” said Mike.
The best donor for a kidney match is a sibling, but Mike doesn’t have that option.
“My brother and sister have it, too,” Mike added.
But just when he started to lose hope, it happened.
“It was overwhelming. I couldn’t talk; I can’t now,” said Lori.
The donor? His own wife. Doctors tested Lori and found she could donate her kidney to Mike.
“She went through all of the testing and I don’t know what the odds of her matching… it was hard to believe at first,” said Mike.
“As long as I am healthy, I would donate my kidney to help him,” Lori said.
This Valentine’s Day, Lori’s gift to Mike is the gift of life.
“It will be the best one ever,” said Lori.
“Hard to top that… flowers and chocolate don’t cut it,” added Mike.
It’s a special day for two people who are the perfect match, in more ways than one.
The surgery for the couple is set. There will be a benefit to help cover medical expenses.