TENNESSEE, USA — You're bound to hear some great love stories around Valentine's, but one Tennessee couple has a story that's truly incredible. It's a story that brings new meaning to finding your match.
February 14, Valentine's, it's an important date on the calendar for Mike and Reda Blair of Franklin.
"It's amazing to have someone that's your best friend as well as your partner in life," said Reda.
But then, dates on the calendar are especially important to them. Go back. January 6. That's both Mike and Reda's birthday. Go forward. March 9. That's their wedding anniversary.
"I just knew she was the one," said Mike. "She was my forever."
Other important dates came with the birth of their son, the day their son married.
Even with so many grand dates over the years, there came one very hard date in the summer of 2019 when Reda had to see a doctor. She was overwhelmed by fatigue.
"I was in kidney failure," said Reda. "My kidneys were just not functioning at all basically."
"Our world was shattered," added Mike.
Reda went to Saint Thomas West in Nashville and was received to the national transplant list. She wasn't sure how long it would take to find a match, if it could be months, years. Then, something happened.
"I turned to Reda at that time and told her, 'I'm your donor,'" said Mike. "I'm your donor."
Mike was a match.
The couple with all those important dates asked Saint Thomas West if the transplant could be performed March 9, 2020; their 35th wedding anniversary.
"Saint Thomas moved a lot of mountains to make that happen," said Reda. "Mike gave me one of his kidneys and saved my life."
With Valentine's here soon, Mike and Reda are looking forward to one of their special dates. Truly, even beyond Janury 6, February 14, and March 9, for Mike and Reda, every date is something quite special.
"It truly is a love story," said Reda. "He's my soul mate, he's my partner, he's my best friend and the love of my life."
News4 spoke to Dr. Derek Moore who's the director of the kidney transplant program at Saint Thomas West. He told us in Tennessee most people on the transplant list will wait five years if they don't have a live donor. Moore hopes stories like the Blairs' will get more people interested in being a kidney donor.
"I want people to know how very safe the process is, how well the donors do," said Moore. "Most donors leave the hospital the day after the operation and have no side effects later in life."