MIAMI (AP) - A 26-year-old South Florida woman has given her husband the gift of life.

Ricardo Bermudez, who suffers from IgA nephrophaty, was on a three-year waiting list to receive a kidney transplant when his wife discovered she shares his blood type and antigens.

Doctors at Miami's Jackson Memorial Hospital were thrilled when they learned Andrea Bermudez, 26, was a match.

"Lucky for him she was like a sister, genetically," Dr. Adlea Mattiazzi, a University of Miami/Jackson transplant nephrologist told The Miami Herald (http://hrld.us/13wn4JH ). "It's really unusual to get a non-biologically related donor. It's once in a blue moon."

Ricardo Bermudez, 30, first complained of sharp pain in his lower back in August 2011. Shortly afterward, he was diagnosed with the kidney disorder, in which protein builds up in the kidney. It causes the kidney to become inflamed and to malfunction.

He began hemodialysis three times a week in December 2011 and switched to peritoneal dialysis last August. That allowed him to take the treatments at home.

Andrea Bermudez told The Herald she knew she could live with one kidney so she had no problem sharing with her husband of six years.

"I did it for my kids. I didn't have a father around. I wanted to give the opportunity to them," she said. They have two children, Jacquelyn, 6, and Ricky Jr., 2.

The transplant happened on June 12 and both spent the summer recovering.

For Ricardo Bermudez, who was a tree-trimmer, more changes are in store. He won't be able to work outside because of his weakened immune system. He has to wear a mask in public for a year and is prohibited from strenuous work.

So, he plans to attend school and eventually become a counselor for children who are undergoing dialysis.

"I've been blessed," Ricardo Bermudez said. "She offered herself without me asking for it. No one in the family could help, but she was right here next to me."


Information from: The Miami Herald, http://www.herald.com

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8/6/2013 12:16:44 PM (GMT -4:00)

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