Dad receives needed kidney transplant, mother gives hers to someone else in need

Posted at 11:01 AM, Mar 07, 2019
and last updated 2019-03-07 20:49:12-05

NAMPA — The Villanueva family shares everything, most notably their love of baseball, but then a diagnosis left them unable to share what really mattered.

"Doing biopsies and stuff like that of the kidney, that was the organ that was pretty much kind of functional at that time where they said 'hey you're going to need a transplant,'" said Javier Villanueva.

Javier's rare blood type left members of the family unable to donate one of their own kidneys. They spent nearly four years of waiting for a call about an available kidney, which was a call that never came. Then Javier's wife took matters into her own hands.

"The chances of a donor that's living for it to take are way better like substantially better," said Michelle Villanueva.

Offering up her own kidney to someone else in need meant her husband could move up the list. It's called the kidney paired exchange.

I wasn't even a thought to me, and he didn't want me to do it because he didn't want me to go through it and I was like no I'm doing it," said Michelle.

When the call finally came through it was like fate was on the other line.

"She said I don't want to get you super excited, but I think we have matches for you," said Michelle.

Both of their operations were set for the same day, just rooms apart.

"Like twenty feet, yeah just down the hall at the hospital so it was a little jaunt down the hall," said the Villanuevas.

The selfless act struck a chord for their children, passing on a new family tradition. Now both of their sons want to follow in the footsteps of their mother, so someone else's loved one can have a second chance.

"Go be a good samaritan and say yeah I'm going to go donate, I'm going to go help someone's life out ya know," said their 19-year-old son Jordan Villanueva.

"I definitely want to be a living kidney donor, and I have no problem doing that and from hearing from my mom's personal point of view that pushes me and inspires me a lot," said their 23-year-old son Javier Villanueva.