'In the seven or so years I have been doing this, I have never seen anything like this.'
A friend in need is a friend indeed, a phrase that stands true to this couple—Debbie and Brad Thompson. Not once but twice the pair went ahead and donated kidneys to their friends, Christine and Ron Morales. Debbie and Christine have been friends since they first met in third grade. They both grew up together in California and remained close through their high school cheerleading team and eventually lived together after graduating high school. They stayed in touch even after their marriage, as reported by Good Morning America. Moreover, they got married and engaged "a year apart." "We've just done everything together," said Christine.
Despite being good friends, Christine hid one thing from her friend about her health. But in 2015, she decided to tell Debbie that she had a genetic disorder called polycystic kidney disease. It had begun to damage her kidneys over time. When Debbie came to know about this health issue, she wanted to help. She told Christine about donating her own kidney. "I just said, 'I have a kidney and if I'm healthy enough I can do it,'" she said. "I'd be happy to give her one. I just don't work without Chris," according to CBS News.
Fortunately, they found out that they had the same blood type. In six months' time, Debbie was allowed to donate her kidney to Christine. The surgery was successful, and Debbie said that she could do it all over again for her friend. "She calls the kidney little Deb!" Thompson said. "She always says little Deb is doin' good."
From a friendship forged on the playground to a sisterhood solidified in shared experiences, Chris Morales is forever grateful after lifelong friend Debbie Thompson and her husband donated kidneys to save her and her husband Ron. https://t.co/s6sv1jE0Ff— CBS Los Angeles (@CBSLA) November 23, 2022
In 2020, the same situation re-occurred but this time, it was Christine's husband, Ron, who has Type 2 diabetes and needed a kidney transplant. "He struggled," Christine said. "He was very sick. We almost lost him a couple of times so it was to see." Both Ron and Christine tried to keep it a secret for a while from their friends, but Thompson and Debbie soon came to know about it. Thompson called up Ron and said, "'Hey, I hear you need some extra body parts,"' Ron recalled. He went on to give his kidney to Ron and had successful surgeries.
Everything was similar to what their wives went through. Just that since both the husbands did not have a blood type match, Ron needed to get blood transfusions to prepare his immune system to not reject Thompson's kidney. "I said, 'You can't call it little Brad, and you can't bring me flowers on the anniversary as Chris does,'" Thompson joked.
Thompson's surgeon sees the transplant as a miracle. "In the seven or so years I have been doing this, I have never seen anything like this. I think it's very unique," he said. "I am glad they were able to find each other." The transplant was conducted at Cedars Sinai Medical Center. Now with four matching scars, the Morales are grateful for their lifelong friendship with the Thompsons. "This is something we're very thankful for because we have two kidneys," said Christine. "Thankful for Debbie and thankful for Brad for the gift of life."