A lifesaving match: Longtime friend donates kidney to Wellington man

A lifesaving match: Longtime friend donates kidney to Wellington man (WPEC)

A decades-long friendship lead to a lifesaving match.

A Wellington man in desperate need of a new kidney was surprised to learn his lifetime family friend was a perfect match.

Ron Burr and Carissa Gonzalez spent holidays and birthdays together for years.

“Our parents grew up with each other,” Gonzalez said.

Burr was born with a neurological disorder, but he kept another health secret from her.

She discovered a plea for help on his mother’s Facebook earlier this year.

“I had no clue he was even struggling since a kid," Gonzalez said. "He never showed it in my eyes. I just enjoyed being around him and playing with him."

Burr found out he had kidney failure at age 10, and has since been suffering with the agony of dialysis and no living donor on the radar.

When most people stepped back, Gonzalez stepped in.

“I got to the point where I was like, well it wouldn’t hurt to try and to do the questionnaire,” she said with a smile on her face.

Test results came back as a perfect match.

“Hearing that someone that I’ve known since I was a kid was a perfect match, I thought, ‘Wow, that’s great’,” Burr said.

On Oct. 15, Gonzalez gave Burr the gift of life at Jackson Memorial Hospital in Miami.

“It means a lot that people care," he said. "I never thought people really care for me."

Gonzalez’s act of kindness may also save another life.

“In turn, I’m taking him off the cadaver list, so that somebody else can move up on the list,” she said.

Gonzalez hopes to inspire others.

“It’s important to show the community that they’re still good in the world," she said. "There are still people who care. It doesn’t take much to be that person, don’t hold yourself back."

Burr is excited to finally live a healthy life.

As for Gonzalez, she will not stop giving to others. She plans to work for a nonprofit organization specifically for a transplant foundation to raise awareness on organ donation.

There is a GoFundMe page to help Gonzalez while she is off work and in recovery.

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