LANSING, Mich (WLNS) – Right now, in the United States, there are close to 125,000 people waiting for a life-saving organ transplant.
A Lansing man recently was on that list, but got a helping hand from a very unlikely place.
“There was a reason we were supposed to be together. Yes, there was a reason, yup,” say Karen and Patrick Kundrat in unison.
They have been married 11 years now. But their love story goes back decades.
“We were high school sweethearts. He always considered me his little cheerleader, because I was a cheerleader in high school,” Karen said.
That young love didn’t last, though.
Patrick is three years older than Karen and he graduated high school before her.
They went their separate ways.
It wasn’t until 22 years later that Patrick and Karen would “just happen” to meet again.
But if you ask them, it wasn’t “happenstance” because since birth, Patrick has had issues with his kidneys.
Just two years into their marriage “something didn’t seem right. I went and got looked at and doctors found out my kidneys weren’t just having issues, they were shutting down. I was actually in stage 4 kidney failure,” said Patrick.
It didn’t take long before Patrick entered stage 5 kidney failure with just 10 percent kidney function, then regular dialysis.
At the University of Michigan hospital there was at least a five-year wait for a transplant.
“And I thought, my goodness! That’s a long time! I thought why don’t I get tested? What if there’s something that I can be able to do for him? I had a talk with Patrick, and he wasn’t for it. No. He says. No, no,” said Karen.
“I didn’t want to lose her,” said Patrick. “I’d rather go through dialysis the rest of my life, and wait my time on the list, then taking the chance of her being harmed.”
What are the odds, though? For a husband and wife to be a perfect match? Statistics show about one in 50,000.
“Oh my goodness! I told Patrick, I’m a direct match!” said Karen. “How, how rare is that!”
No one knows what the future holds.
But one thing the Kundrats do know, is that God works in mysterious ways and they say the way the Lord brought them back together after two decades was nothing short of Divine.
Patrick and Karen had their surgery in December at the University of Toledo.
They are both recovering well and encourage others to consider being an organ donor.