In the span of about a year, Reid Alexander and Rafael Díaz met and got married – and Díaz donated a kidney to his new husband.
Alexander told USA TODAY that he and Díaz matched on a dating app in August 2020 in Colorado. But Alexander soon told him about his Alport syndrome, a genetic disease that causes damage to blood vessels in the kidneys, among other symptoms.
“I explained to him what was going on with my kidneys and everything because he really liked to cook, and I really liked to cook,” Alexander said. “So we would cook together, but I had to tell him not to put too much salt on my food because I wasn’t allowed to have salt.”
In September 2020, just weeks after they started dating, Alexander had to have surgery to prepare for dialysis.
Díaz stepped in to help as Alexander recovered.
“He stayed at the hospital for me and drove me home and everything,” Alexander said. “He’s the first person to ever get me flowers, so, yeah, I kind of knew he was the one.”
The couple were engaged in February and were married in April. Alexander and Díaz kept their wedding ceremony small so they could pay for the surgeries, but they plan to have a larger bash in a year or two.
Just after their wedding, Díaz began testing to determine whether he could be Alexander’s kidney donor, and the results showed he was a match.
Though their hospital in Colorado first told the couple that they would not be able to perform the surgery, they pursued doctors in Indiana, where Alexander is from.
In early June, two surgeons and a nephrologist from IU Health told the couple they were confident in the surgery. The surgeries were done in August, and Alexander and Díaz told USA TODAY they are recovering well.
Among the 6,000 living donor transplants in the U.S. each year, nearly 800 are from a partner or spouse, CNN reported.
Alexander said it is “crazy how fast I feel like I’ve recovered,” though he still has some limitations. Díaz said he is happy to see his husband improve.
“I’m just so glad,” he said. “I’m so glad to see Reid all day and see how good he’s doing.”
Díaz called it “amazing” that people can be organ donors and “change the life of one person.”
“It was the best experience in our life,” Díaz said, noting that he would do it all over again if given the chance. “It’s just incredible.”