OVILLA, TX — When Ashley and Sammy Turner married 12 years ago, she had no idea she was his perfect match in more ways than one.
The couple experienced a real taste of "in sickness and in health" in July 2017 when Sammy awoke Ashley during night to tell her that he couldn’t breathe, WFAA reported.
The couple rushed to a nearby hospital and learned Sammy was suffering from kidney failure.
Doctors told him he needed an organ transplant to survive.
Left with few options and even less time, Ashley decided to have her blood tested for compatibility. Despite 1-in-100,000 odds, doctors determined the couple was a perfect husband-and-wife kidney pairing.
The odds of finding a match are so slim that most people living with kidney disease must wait 3 to 5 years for an available donor, according to Kidney.org.
Even when an organ is available nearby, doctors must consider a patient’s length of sickness, medical urgency, geographical location, weight, size and blood type, among other factors before a transplant is performed.
According to the United Network for Organ Sharing, 114,902 people are currently waiting for an organ transplant.
Until recently, a Houston woman with severe kidney disease was among them.
Shanajha Hill, much like Ashley Turner, was diagnosed in July 2017. With her kidneys functioning at a mere 14 percent, she was given a dire prognosis.
"The doctor told me you’re going to start dialysis very soon and you will need a transplant," Shanajha told KHOU.
Doctors told Shanajha it would take her five to seven years to receive a new kidney, but her husband, Gabriel, had no interest in waiting.
The couple underwent a year of testing before they learned Gabriel was his wife’s perfect match.
After surgery, Shanajha posted on Facebook in April that she and Gabriel were "We’re doing well and healing well!!"
Miles away but connected by a similar fight for life, Sammy and Ashley in Ovilla are also healing well.
"I’m going to get her whatever she wants, so that’s already a given, I’m putting it out there," Sammy told WFAA. "I could never repay her, but I will for the rest of my life try to do that."
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