Husband Gives Wife Kidney Just in Time for Valentine's Day

02/13/01    Portland, Ore.

When Darrell Marti asked his wife Gloria what she wanted for Valentine's Day, she didn't want chocolate or red roses, instead she replied, "You're already giving me a kidney, that's enough." Today Darrell is scheduled to donate one of his kidneys to his wife- - a unique Valentine's gift that will keep giving for many years to come.

"It's a miracle we even matched. I just wanted to keep her in good health so we could continue having fun together," said Darrell.

"What's more important than a card, flowers, jewelry or candy on Valentine's Day? The gift of a new and better life, a life free of the constraints of dialysis, free of a restrictive renal failure diet, free of fluid intake restraints, and a life free from the wait for a cadaver kidney transplant, in short, the gift of a kidney transplant from your husband," said John Barry, M.D., Gloria's transplant surgeon and head of the Division of Abdominal Organ Transplantation and of the Division of Urology in OHSU's School of Medicine.

Gloria was diagnosed with diabetes when she was 12 years old. All five of her sisters and her mother have had some form of diabetes. Last year, at age 43, physicians told the Martis that Gloria's kidneys were failing and that she would require a kidney transplant or have to go on dialysis. That's when husband Darrell stepped forward and offered to donate one of his kidneys.

"I told her 'I've got an extra one and I only need one,'" said Darrell.

"I never expected him to come forward to offer his kidney," said Gloria. "He had no qualms about it whatsoever. It was a wonderful surprise."

Gloria and Darrell met five years ago when both of them worked together at Oregon Cutting Systems, where Darrell is a machinist. Their first date was Feb. 8, 1996. Two years later they were married. Gloria says she loves being married. She said they didn't plan to have the surgery on Feb. 13 because of Valentine's Day, it just worked out that way.

"By giving a kidney, Darrell is able to help the woman he will spend the rest of his life with in a very real and tangible way, and avoid that helpless feeling that comes from seeing someone you love suffer from a chronic disease, such as kidney failure. Their relationship will benefit from Gloria's improved health, happiness and freedom," said Regina Klein, R.N., Gloria's renal transplant coordinator.


* OHSU's team performed 173 kidney transplants in calendar year 2000. * Currently there are almost 200 patients who need cadaver kidney transplants on OHSU's waiting list. Nationally, there are more than 74,000 people waiting for organs of all types. * The average waiting time for a cadaver kidney transplant at OHSU is about a year. * There are nearly 90 years of faculty transplant experience at OHSU (John Barry, M.D. - 27 years; Douglas Norman, M.D. - 21 years; Eugene Fuchs, M.D. - 20 years; Angelo de Mattos, M.D., - 8 years; Michael Lemmers, M.D. - 8 years; Michael Conlin, M.D. - 5 years)

For more information on organ donation, please call the OREGON DONOR PROGRAM, 1 800 452-1369