In the span of approximately a year, Reid Alexander and Rafael Díaz met and got married – and Díaz donated a kidney to his new husband.
Alexander told USA TODAY that he and Díaz matched on a dating app in August 2020 in Colorado. But Alexander soon told him about his Alport syndrome, a genetic disease that causes damage to blood vessels in the kidneys, among other symptoms.
“I explained to him what was going on with my kidneys and everything because he really liked to cook, and I really liked to cook,” Alexander said. “So we would cook together, but I had to tell him not to put too much salt on my food because I wasn’t allowed to have salt.”
In September 2020, just weeks after they started dating, Alexander had to have surgery to prepare for dialysis.
Díaz stepped in to help as Alexander recovered.
“He stayed at the hospital for me and drove me home and everything,” Alexander said. “He’s the first person to ever get me flowers, so, yeah, I kind of knew he was the one.”
They were engaged to each other in February, and they got married in April. Alexander and Díaz kept their wedding ceremony small in order to pay for the surgeries, but they plan to have a larger bash in a year or two.
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Just after their wedding, Díaz officially began testing to determine if he could be Alexander’s kidney donor, and the results showed he was a match.
Though their hospital in Colorado first told the couple that they would not be able to perform the surgery, they pursued doctors in Indiana, where Alexander is from.
Two surgeons from IU Health and a nephrologist told Diaz and Alexander that the procedure was safe. The surgeries were performed in August, and Alexander and Díaz told USA TODAY that they are both recovering well.
CNN reports that nearly 800 of the approximately 6,000 transplants from living donors in the U.S. are from spouses or partners.
Alexander said it is “crazy how fast I feel like I’ve recovered,” though he still has some limitations. Díaz said he is happy to see his husband improve.
“I’m just so glad,” he said. “I’m so glad to see Reid all day and see how good he’s doing.”
Díaz called it “amazing” that people can be organ donors and “change the life of one person.”
“It was the best experience in our life,” Díaz said, noting that he would do it all over again if given the chance. “It’s just incredible.”
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