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A perfect match: Husband donates kidney to wife of 51 years

Peggy Nipper's husband of 51 years, Mike, was found to be a perfect kidney transplant match for the Texas woman.
Peggy Nipper's husband of 51 years, Mike, was found to be a perfect kidney transplant match for the Texas woman. St. David's North Austin Medical Center

One Texas couple is giving the phrase “perfect match” real meaning.

Peggy Nipper, 74, has polycystic kidney disease, an inherited illness that eventually leads to kidney failure.

When one of her kidneys became only 14 per cent functional this year, she knew it was time for a transplant.

For people over the age of 70, finding an adequate match is tough, but as it turns out, the donor was closer to home than Nipper thought.

READ MORE: ‘Massive’ kidney weighing 7.4 kilograms removed from patient in India

What she didn’t know is that her new kidney would come from her husband of 51 years, Mike Nipper.

The couple underwent the surgical process in November at the Kidney Transplant Center at St. David’s North Austin Medical Center.

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“We didn’t even think there was a possibility for him to be a direct match,” Peggy, whose mom died of the disease, told CNN.

“If you carry babies from your husband, your blood has been mixed, and very often, you develop antigens against that blood because of bearing children. So we didn’t even know it was a possibility.”

Calgary woman calls organ donation her ‘Christmas miracle’
Calgary woman calls organ donation her ‘Christmas miracle’

But when Mike checked out his blood type and the six-antigen tissue match, it was a miracle.

“It was quite a gift. I don’t think he has to give me another gift for the rest of my life,” she said. “This was the ultimate present.”

Mike joked that his wife should consider the kidney her Christmas present and perhaps her next birthday present, too, according to KVUE.

Despite their perfect kidney match, the two are total opposites, Mike says.

READ MORE: Hospital admits it gave kidney transplant to the wrong patient

“We’re different people,” he told CNN. “I’m from Mars and she’s from Venus, but our differences will always complement each other.”

“All these years, all these years living with my match,” Peggy told KVUE.

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Peggy is currently in recovery, and her body is reacting well to the new kidney.

meaghan.wray@globalnews.ca