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Donation Heart Ribbon

San Diegans Become First Living Couple To Donate Kidney Through National Registry

SAN DIEGO (CNS) - A San Diego husband and wife has become the first living couple in the U.S. to each donate a kidney through the National Kidney Registry, Sharp Healthcare announced Wednesday.

Alexis Wesley, 31, underwent surgery Tuesday at Sharp Memorial Hospital and one of her kidneys was transplanted into a New York man she doesn't know.

"They pulled it out of my Caesarian section scar, and we joked that was the smallest thing they ever pulled out of there because my daughter was a big baby,'' Alexis told 10News.

Her husband, 32-year-old Charles Wesley, donated a kidney 17 months ago.

"It's just exciting to see anybody else donating, but particularly your wife,'' he said.

Charles Wesley said he and his wife had been shown a lot of charity and goodwill over the years, because their 6-year-old daughter, Laelia, has undergone six operations for arthrogryposis, a rare and joint muscle disorder.

They have since adopted a 2-year-old Ukrainian boy who suffers from the same condition and will need surgeries and special care.

According to Sharp, the National Kidney Registry, a nonprofit based in Long Island, N.Y., that pairs donors with those suffering from kidney failure, requires recipients to have a partner who is willing to donate one of their kidneys.

The Wesleys donations started donation chains that are expected to save a total of 10 lives. The donation by Alexis set in motion two transplants in California, two in Maryland, one each in Ohio and Pennsylvania -- plus the one in New York.

Nearly 850 transplants have been facilitated since the registry started in 2008. Of those, 25 have taken place at Sharp Memorial Hospital. Eight donation chains have started at Sharp, according to the hospital.

Sharp Memorial has nearly 450 kidney patients on its waiting list.

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