Aug 12, 2013 10:35 AM by Ryan Haarer

Organ recipient says, "It's like I never lost my kidney."

TUCSON- The kidney donor list in Arizona is more than 1,500 names long. There are names of mothers, fathers, brothers and sisters all looking for a way to make life worth living. One Tucson man was lucky enough to have that happen and months later we caught up with him and his donor to see how the man with a new organ is doing.

Six months ago, Jimmy Charlow was looking for a new car. He got to talking to the salesman about his failing kidneys. He'd looked everywhere for a donor but to no avail. He never thought the salesman's wife would be so willing.

After chatting it up at the car lot the unexpected happened.

"Two days later my phone rings. Here is the woman I don't know. 'I want to give you a kidney!' I was like, ‘What?'" said, Charlow.

On the other line was Vanessa Vittoria, eager to help. She got the ball rolling and visited jimmy in dialysis.

"It made me so sad. That was it for me. I thought, no one deserves to live like this. If I can give him any kind of relief at all, I'm doing this," Vanessa said.

The kidney cleans toxins in our body that might otherwise kill us. you only need one kidney and after surgery Vanessa says nothing in her life has changed.

"I had a better deal than Jimmy. Jimmy had a rough go! But, it wasn't easy. It was painful."

After 24 long days at UAMC Jimmy says life is as good as ever.

"It's like I never lost my kidney to be honest with you."

Aside from all the medicine Jimmy must take, his energy has skyrocketed and he says the best part is no more of those intense migraines after 4 hours of dialysis. All thanks to Vanessa.

"I feel kind of selfish because it really did make me feel really good. I feel good that Jimmy feels so much better. It was the reason I did it," Vanessa said.

Jimmy says he has a new outlook on life and they both say their family tree got bigger with the donation of a kidney.

"We're blood. She made a great sacrifice for someone she didn't know. In her heart she felt she needed to do this. And I am blessed for that."

If you are interested in becoming a living donor, contact Celeste Braly at the University of Arizona Medical Center. Her e-mail address is Celeste.Braly@uahealth.com.


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