Are you still trying to find the perfect gift for your bae? One Queens man gave his fiancée a kidney for Christmas, and just put your nicely-wrapped cashmere sweater to shame. The generous gift came from Bairon Garzon, 29, who had been dating his sweetheart Raquel Gomez, 27, for the past six years. Gomez was born with Alport syndrome, a hereditary condition that can lead to kidney disease. Two years prior, she began to show symptoms. Facing down a life change that no young woman wants to think of, in 2014, she had to relinquish her social life and love of traveling in order to give herself dialysis for ten hours every night. With New York’s notoriously long wait list for kidney transplants (five to ten years on average) it seemed there were no other options, especially since Gomez’s mother and sister sadly did not pass the test to donate.
Undeterred by these health difficulties, Garzon proposed on Christmas of that year — three months into the routine of nightly dialysis treatments. Garzon understood better than most the promise of “in sickness and in health.” But he took his vow one step further when he decided to get tested in June to see if he was a match to donate. “I did it to help her get back to her normal life,” Garzon explained to The New York Post. In a grand stroke of luck, he was revealed to be a type-O negative universal donor. They were told by the nurses, “You’re a match made in heaven.” And with relief, they began prepping for surgery, as well as their upcoming wedding. “We knew I’ll be normal by then, I’ll have a kidney by then!” said Gomez.
The surgery was performed October 1st at Mount Sinai Hospital. Thanks to improved surgical techniques that allow for a quick recuperation, Garzon is back to playing soccer. Gomez is still on the road to recovery. The couple is set to be married September 3rd, 2016 in the Hudson Valley. With this amazing gift, they can even start planning vacations again, Gomez said, “I tell him every day, he’s my hero.”