She gave her Valentine a kidney

Taesha Benson gave boyfriend Travis Spire-Sweet her left kidney.

There is romance and there is romance – diamonds and flowers seem lame compared to what a Kansas City couple shared last week.

Taesha Benson gave boyfriend Travis Spire-Sweet her left kidney.

The University of Kansas Hospital noted that Valentine’s day is also National Donor Day and released the couples’ story today:

Spire-Sweet, 30, is an acupuncturist who had suffered kidney problems since birth with only one quarter of a working kidney. He’d been on the waiting list for the kidney of a deceased donor for more than a year.

But it turned out that the kidney from Benson, 32, was a perfect match for him, unlike that of his own twin brother.

She said: “Initially you think, ‘how could I do that? I don’t have it in me. But over time I got to know Travis and his love of life. Not many people come along who have his integrity, character, and optimism.”

She added, “He has provided me with a new love of life.”

On average 18 people a day die waiting for organ and tissue donations, while living  and deceased donors provide an average of 79 life-saving donations a year.

Dr. Sean Kumer, surgical transplant director at the hospital, said living donors allow more deceased donor kidneys to be used for transplant and spare patients long waits for those kidneys.

Also, he said, “Living donor recipients enjoy a longer organ survival, on average 3-5 years longer.

An estimated 69 percent of all people who get kidney transplants are still alive five years after surgery.

For whatever reason, nearly two thirds of all living donors are women while two thirds of all deceased donors are men.

The couple is home from the hospital and recovering. No word on whether Spire-Sweet has bought her flowers.

This video from the hospital has more details, including some graphic details of the surgery.

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