DELPHOS — A Delphos man is going under the knife Friday to give his wife’s longtime friend the gift of life. Literally.
Brian Stechschulte and Kris Stratton left for Cincinnati on Thursday to prep for a kidney transplant. Stratton is a longtime friend of his wife, Jenn Stechschulte.
“I wanted to be tested, but I only have one kidney that works. And I was not aware of that. I had kidney issues at birth… And when I found out I couldn’t help her, I was very, very upset,” said Jenn Stechschulte, 39. “I was telling my husband Brian, it just really stinks that I can’t help her out because I would do it in a heartbeat. But later on that night, he was like, ‘Well, I’ll go get tested.’”
This came as a surprise to her, since he had only met her a handful of times at various get-togethers. But for him, it was a no-brainer.
“I would’ve done it for a complete stranger too, but I knew it was important to Jenn too. I mean, it’s a big deal, but not really,” said Brian Stechschulte, 34.
His wife said, “I think it’s a big deal.”
Stratton, 40, of Bath Township, responded, “I think it’s huge.”
According to the National Kidney Foundation, there were 5,769 living donors who gave a kidney in 2012. Only 165 of those people were an unrelated or anonymous donor. More than three-fourths of Americans waiting for an organ transplant, more than 95,000 people, await for a kidney.
Stratton said her kidneys began to fail in 2011. She was put on dialysis last May. Because of her illness, he was fearful to go anywhere very often, so relied on Facebook for the bulk of her social interactions. She talked about some of her health challenges there, too.
“How do you talk to people and say, hey, I need a kidney. Would you be a donor? So I didn’t,” she said.
She feels grateful to have Brian donate his kidney to her. But he said that won’t be the only thing he’ll give; he has a kidney stone that she’ll have to pass. They both chuckled.
“To me, it’s not that big of a deal,” Brian Stechschulte said. “I’ve been through surgeries and I know I’ll come out OK. And I’m giving her life, one of the greatest gifts anyone can give.”
“He’s giving me a second chance at life,” Stratton said, wiping tears from her eyes. “I have four children of my own and my first grand baby is coming. There’s nothing I could ever say or do to tell Brian how appreciative I am.”
They are having the procedure done at Cincinnati University Hospital.