Transplant recipients once strangers, form special bond - 7News Boston WHDH-TV

Transplant recipients once strangers, form special bond

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MIAMI (WSVN) -- Three separate families, once complete strangers, now have a unique connection after a historic triple transplant at a South Florida hospital.

"There's a physical bond between us," said 64-year-old Dale Jasko. "I'm going to carry him around with me, in my body, for the rest of my life."

Jasko and his son Jonathan Jasko; Mary Rivero Morales and her husband Omar Figueroa; and Alana Gonzales and her husband Gabriel Garcia, all met for the first time after a three-way kidney exchange. "It's very impressive. It's impressive knowing we are the pioneers of this pair exchange program," said Alana Gonzalez.

When Jasko's hypertension and diabetes led to kidney failure, his son wanted to donate his kidney, but he wasn't 100 percent compatible. Morales' kidneys did not properly filter blood and eventually failed, and her husband was not a match. Gonzalez's lupus caused kidney failure despite dialysis, and her husband also did not match.

While they waited for transplants, their quality of life began slipping. Gonzalez began missing quality time with her son. "I was very limited of the things I was able to do with him," said Gonzalez. "Now I'm going to be able to be part of his life more, going to school, being in his activities, see him grow."

The donors did not match their loved ones, but matched others. Jonathan donated to Gonzalez, Omar donated to Jasko and Gabriel donated to Morales."I was so nervous, just wanted to see that face that gave me a second chance," said Gonzalez. "Just seeing how young he is, he's only 22 years old, it's just wonderful. It's wonderful meeting him, and I think we can have a long-time friendship."

"I'm looking forward to staying in touch with him over my lifetime because he's done a wonderful thing for me," said Jasko.

Doctors performed the three-way swap, the first-ever in Florida at Jackson Memorial Hospital. Dr. Giselle Guerra said, "We are providing an opportunity not only for our community here in South Florida but throughout the rest of the region. This would open the doors for a lot of people that have been denied even though they have donors in other places."

In this trifecta, three people have now given life to three strangers. "Sometimes there are not words to describe how I feel," said Gonzalez. "I wanted to cry."

Doctors said the donors and recipients are all doing well.

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