HOUSTON, Texas -- Two Texas families have a lot to be thankful for as they start the new year. Just weeks ago, they were strangers to each other. Now, they share a lasting bond after coming together for a life-saving kidney swap.
Leticia McQueen learned nearly six years ago that she was born with only one kidney, and it was failing. She was put on dialysis, but years went by with no kidney match. Her kidney function dropped to less than five percent of normal.
"That weighs a lot on you. Every birthday passes by and you're like, well, am I going to be around for the next one?" said Leticia.
Leticia's daughter, Audrey, wanted to donate a kidney to her. She was tested, but she wasn't a direct match for her mom. However, she did match someone else.
Geraldina Beltran also struggled with chronic kidney disease and was in dire need of a transplant. Her son, Antonio, also wanted to donate a kidney to his mom. He didn't match her - but he did match Leticia.
"In this country, there are probably close to 100,000 people on the waiting list for a kidney transplant and that really doesn't include all the people that would be a candidate for transplantation," said Dr. Steve Bynon with UTHealth Houston and Memorial Hermann. "Live donations are really the best answer to help solve that gap, or close that gap."
On November 11, 2022, Antonio and Audrey each donated a kidney to each other's mothers through the Living Kidney Donor program at Memorial Hermann Hospital in Houston.
"You never think that as the child, you're going to save your parent's life," said Audrey. "That in itself is almost unbelievable, that we're able to do that, to be able to save my mom's life and give her many more years with us is immaculate."
"Its an incredible thing to think about, just the number of coincidences or things that have to take place for these two worlds to meet," said Antonio.
ABC13 caught up with the two families as they met for the first time following their life-saving surgery. For more on Memorial Hermann's Living Kidney Donor program, click here.