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Mequon husband gets healthy to donate kidney to his wife

By Julia Fello,


MEQUON -- A Mequon woman, in need of a new kidney for years, found her perfect match right under her own roof. It was her husband.

Getting to the point of a transplant was no easy task. They share their personal story with TMJ4 News about the lengths this man went to, to give his wife a life-saving gift.

First and foremost, Deborah Hufford and Evan Jones want to thank their doctors and the entire team that took care of them along the way.

"I wanna give a great shout-out to Aurora St. Luke's and their kidney transplant program . It is the best in the state and the best in the Midwest. All the nurses and all the doctors and all the staff, especially in the ICU Center 8th, you guys are awesome. You saved my life."

Married for nearly 40 years, Evan Jones and Deborah Hufford had no idea until about a year ago, they have even more in common!

"It was just like miracles were dropping out of the sky," exclaimed Deborah.

Her husband Evan added, "In trying to save my wife, I might have saved myself."

Evan Jones & Deborah Hufford

Deborah's health journey started about 32 years ago when she had complications giving birth to their daughter, "And they said, 'do you realize that your wife has 25 percent kidney function?'"

She lived a full life up until three years ago when Deborah says, "My kidney function just started to plummet really fast and it reached 16 percent."

Doctors told her that is just one-percent off from needing to go on dialysis, and put her on the kidney donor list a short time later.

"In the end stages of my kidney failure, I was sleeping 12 hours a day I just did not have the energy," Deborah recalled.

Still unaware at that point he was a match, Evan tried to become a donor to help push his wife to the top of the transplant life, "There's an exchange program so if you donate you can be matched to someone else."

But he was denied, "I was on two blood pressure medications. I wasn't going to be deterred though."

The then 63-year-old spent about two years getting healthy on a Mediterranean Diet. He worked out more and cut out alcohol which helped him lose 20 pounds and lower his blood pressure, "For me, it's almost gone. I take half of one pill whereas at one time I was taking the maximum dose of two pills."

Evan says he eliminated alcohol from his diet because it was a big contributor to his high blood pressure. But he emphasized you do not have to cut alcohol consumption to become a kidney donor.

It was enough to get him on the donor list last year and that is when he finally found out he matched with his wife.

Deb exclaimed, "It's miraculous!"

Evan agreed, "Thrilled! As a donor, it really wasn't bad at all. I was fine."

Deborah added, "He walked out [of the hospital] the very next day!"

Four months post-surgeries, Deb and her husband's kidney are getting along great, "It's normal, it's about 75 percent which is really awesome. I've been given a new life and I couldn't be more grateful."

They hope this will get more people to donate, to save someone they know, or a perfect stranger.

"Honestly if you wanna do one incredible thing in your life, donate your spare kidney. It's the most important thing I ever did," said Evan.

Deb added, "With my hero husband, I have a new life."

A perfect match, in more ways than one.

Evan shared another personal benefit to becoming a donor, "You get one of the world's best medical workups and it doesn't cost you a cent. It's all paid for by the recipients. I am completely healthy. I haven't been this healthy in years... My kidney function is absolutely as good as someone who has two kidneys."

To learn about how to become a living kidney donor and save someone's life, click here .

Evan Jones & Deborah Hufford

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