Cousins battling kidney failure both receive rare transplants

Two cousins received life-saving kidney transplants at the same time.

HOUSTON - Delores and Deborah could not be any more different.

"She's kind of like the quiet one," said Delores Bell. "She's very quiet and I'm kind of like the wild one."

This odd couple of cousins now share a bond that can't be broken. All together they'd been battling kidney failure and in dialysis for a combined 17 years, but those elusive, life-saving kidneys they'd been praying for arrived last week.

"Gift, lesson, whatever you word you want to put on it," said Deborah Christopher. Deborah arrived at the hospital for the transplant December 18. Dolores received her new kidney two days later from her nephew.

"He said 'Delores I want to give you one of my kidneys'," recounted Delores. "'I said don't tell me if you're not serious, I really want a kidney'."

They ended up recovering side by side in adjoining rooms at Houston's Methodist Hospital.

"This is the first time in my 30 year career that something like this happens," said Dr. A. Osama Gaber, a transplant surgeon at Houston Methodist Hospital.

Delores and Deborah had each other to lean on. "I had to be there to encourage her, and she had to be there to encourage me," said Delores.

"We walked the halls together and everything," said Deborah. And their large family was there to witness the perfectly timed Christmas miracle.

"It was sort of a family reunion around two patients," said Dr. Gaber. "It was a great time for all of them. Really supported one another."

Without new kidneys, Deborah and Dolores likely would have died. But now they have two new leases on life.

"I feel like Tony the Tiger, I feel great," said Delores. "This was a miracle taking place and just look at the timing."

"I'm just praising God for putting us together again," said Deborah.


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