Four years ago, Paul and Leslie Bauer met online.
“You had actually responded to me with a question basically asking me about my previous marriage… right to the point,” said Paul.
They had both recently gotten divorced.
“I really had no dreams when I was previously married,” Paul said, “When we started dating and started talking about the future, there were dreams of things to do and places to go and things to see.”
Neither of them knew that their first date would foreshadow the future.
“On our first date, I don’t know if he was really nervous or what,” Leslie recalls. He talked for a really long time, and one of the things I remember he said was that he only had one kidney.”
A few years later, they were married. One day, Leslie went to one of Paul’s doctors appointments with him.
“It seemed to me a lot more serious than he had let on,” she said, “Hearing the nephrologist talk about dialysis, and the potential for dialysis was really scary for me.”
“I had been on the transplant list for 4 to 5 years…so I knew I would get one but i was never sick enough… well now I was starting to get sick, at least by the numbers,” said Paul.
His only kidney was functioning at 11 percent.
At a later doctors appointment, Leslie waited until Paul left the room and asked the nurse what she had to do to be a donor for him.
After weeks of tests, Leslie passed healthy enough to be a donor in a program called The Great American Kidney Swap.
“If your kidney is healthy enough, they exchange your kidney for someone’s in a different state. Like someone in California might have one that matches someone in Kentucky and they keep doing those exchanges until they get back the perfect kidney for the person you’re looking to donate for,” she said.
At the Medical University of South Carolina, where Paul was being treated, they’ve had as many as 35 donors in one kidney swap.
But Paul and Leslie were more than just a match on OkCupid.
They set the surgery date for January 25th, both say they were nervous and excited.
“My kidney started working on the table, it was amazing,” Paul said, “It’s just hard to believe that you know, a part of her, is inside of me.”
The perfect gift, just in time for Valentines.
“No one could give a better gift than that, nothing can beat that,” said Paul.
To support the Bauer’s medical costs, click here.