Bride-to-be Anu Phillips had everything planned for her big day, but little did she know she’d also receive a new life-saving organ.
The Texas woman underwent surgery for a kidney transplant on March 19, six days before walking down the aisle with her husband Jeswin James.
“[The transplant] gave me more life to actually enjoy. Now I can travel, have children — and that was actually my main concern,” Phillips told ABC News. “I’m happy that my husband doesn’t have to experience the daily struggles that I was going through in taking care of me.”
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ABC notes that Phillips was discharged from Medical City Dallas hospital just 24 hours before her wedding.
“Before the wedding, she was on dialysis for the past five years, so every day when she woke up, she was very tired, very weak,” James told ABC News. “After the transplant, she’s energetic. My wife, she’s healthy, she’s happy, she’s full of life.”
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A long journey
According to Fox 4 News, the 28-year-old had been on a waiting list since 2012 for end stage renal disease (kidney disease). She was matched with a donor just six days before she tied the knot.
“The opportunity for her was to get a really good kidney, and we had to make a decision on can we get her the kidney and get her in and out of the hospital and get her to that wedding on time,” Dr. Matthew Mulloy said to the TV station.
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Medical City Dallas shared the couple’s story on their Facebook page, just days before the end of Donate Life Month in April.
“[This month is] designed to raise awareness about the importance of registering as an organ donor and how people who do so can transform sickness and injury into a second chance at life. Anu Phillips is a perfect example — she received a life-saving kidney transplant the same week as her wedding,” the hospital wrote on the social media site.
When organ donations save lives
In March 2015, former Marine Chris Dempsey donated his liver to then-stranger Heather Krueger who was diagnosed with stage 4 liver disease, SELF reports. Two years later, the two started dating and eventually tied the knot.
“He had told me at the beginning of everything, ’You owe me absolutely nothing for this,’” Krueger told the Today Show in 2016.
“‘We can go our separate ways if that’s what you want.’ It was kind of like, we do have this special bond, but is this just because I’m sick that I’m feeling this way? You had to kind of separate that, but after the surgery, I realized it went beyond that… I realized how kind of a person, how special, how selfless and different he is.”
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In a somewhat similar vein, a Pennsylvania bride walked down the aisle with a man who got her father’s donated heart in August 2016, The New York Times reports. A decade earlier, the bride’s father was tragically killed in a mugging.
“The murder and the wedding happened within a three-block radius,” bride Jeni Stepien told the paper. “And I was just thinking, ‘My dad is here with us, and this man is here with us because of us.’”
How to donate organs in Canada
According to Canadian health officials, in the past 10 years, the number of deceased organ donors has gone up by 44 per cent, but the number of people seeking transplants has also risen. And as the population continues to age, the need for organ and tissue donations will also increase.
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Only a fraction of Canadians are registered donors and registration only takes a few minutes.
“Organ donation is not only lifesaving but life giving,” Dr. Peter Nickerson, medical director of transplantation for the Canadian Blood Services said in a statement. “As an example, a kidney transplant will prolong the recipient’s life and vastly improve the quality of that life. Suddenly, someone who was tied to a dialysis machine has the freedom to travel, the energy to do what they want and the desire to again live life fully.”