Oregon husband donates kidney to wife on 36th wedding anniversary

PORTLAND Ore. (KPTV) – A couple celebrated their anniversary in an unusual way this month. A man donated his kidney to his wife and the surgery happen to fall on their 36th wedding anniversary.

Jim Stipan, Maureen Stipan’s husband, told FOX 12 that most kidneys are donated from woman to woman or woman to man. It’s rare for a man to donate to a woman because their kidney is slightly larger. In addition, they’re not related and there was enough compatibility to be a match. When everything was set and done, they called it a miracle.

Maureen has type 1 diabetes, and it affected her kidneys which eventually led to stage four kidney disease. Jim says there was no other option but to donate his kidney. It was a small chance Jim would be a match but asked to get tested anyway. Jim says their kidney doctor, said he had never seen anything like this in his 20 years.

“When you watch somebody with kidney failure, it’s so painful to watch,” says Jim.

Maureen had severe back pain, she was always cold, exhausted, and couldn’t hold food down.

“Our prayers were answered that it was me and it just made everything so simple for our family,” says Jim.

The next availability for surgery, was June 7, their 36th wedding anniversary. Jim and Maureen grew up across the street from each other in a suburb of Chicago. Jim joined the Navy and wrote letters to each other for two years.

“It’s God’s will. The fact that he ended up putting us together so many years later and then he ended up saving my life,” says Maureen.

Now, Maureen no longer have kidney disease. Jim says they saw results immediately.

“We gave each other a kiss and kind of just smiled at each other, like it happened. And they said he gave me like a super kidney, like this thing is working overtime,” says Maureen. “I feel so much better I can’t even explain it. And not just to mention the emotional connection because he did that for me.”

Jim and Maureen say they hope to plan a trip to Hawaii to celebrate soon. Maureen says she should start feeling back to normal in about three months or so, but she’s currently on the recipient list to receive a pancreas to help with her diabetes.