ORLANDO, Fla. - A newlywed couple is recovering from surgery after the wife gave her husband the ultimate valentine's gift: a kidney.
James Jones and Melissa Degeso from Lake Mary have been married for four months.
At Florida Hospital in Orlando on Monday, Melissa donated one of her kidneys to her husband, who was diagnosed with Stage 5 kidney failure back in 2010.
The couple met three years ago, and James learned three months later that he had kidney disease.
“We couldn't continue to date if he wasn't going to live,” said Melissa.
“My wife's my hero. It's an awesome sacrifice,” said James.
The newlyweds were immunologically compatible for the surgery, doctors said, which is what made the unusual situation a beautiful story.
The simultaneous surgery was a complete success, too, doctors said.
Both James and Melissa could be discharged on Valentine's Day, and they plan to rest for a few months before taking the honeymoon that had to wait.
James wants to go to Fiji, but Melissa wants Costa Rica, so James said they’re going to Costa Rica.
Channel 9 learned Melissa decided to donate her kidney even before James was put on dialysis and the waiting list for a kidney.
The transplant team said by doing that, she has given her husband a far better chance of never being sick with kidney disease again in his lifetime.