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Sacrificing a piece of yourself

When Coquitlam couple Kate and Brian Chong exchanged wedding vows, the words “in sickness and in health” meant a great deal.

Kate was diagnosed with chronic kidney disease at the age of 25 so when she walked down the aisle in September 2016, she was marrying not only her best friend, but her future kidney donor.

“We knew Brian was a compatible blood type… but it was so humbling that he was willing to get tested to see if he could save my life,” recalls Kate. Brian had no hesitation in stepping up as a donor, “As soon as I was informed it is possible to live a full life with only one kidney, there was no doubt that I would be willing to donate.”

On September 6, 2017, the couple went into surgery at St. Paul’s Hospital. Brian first, followed by Kate. It was nerve-wracking and emotional for both of them. “The love of my life was sacrificing a piece of himself to help me get better, and so we could move forward with life,” says Kate. 

Both surgeries were smooth with no complications.

That was just one of 180 kidney transplants that took place at St. Paul’s Hospital in 2017, another record-breaking year for transplants. There were 19 heart transplants and one heart-kidney transplant, bringing the total number of transplants at St. Paul’s to an incredible 200. That’s 29 more transplants when compared to 2016.

Kate and Brian are now back to their active lifestyle, running, kickboxing and enjoying good health everyday. Kate says, “Life is great, I feel amazing!”