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Kansas City couple hopes to inspire with kidney transplant

Posted: 10:58 AM, Feb 17, 2020
Updated: 2020-02-18 18:13:42-05
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KANSAS CITY, Kan. — Abhi and Anna Custer-Singh are taking their wedding vows to another level.

"The thing we kept with our vows is in sickness and in health, because we are like that is the ultimate testament to love," Anna Singh said.

Almost 10 years after the couple said "I do," Abhi Singh is in need of a kidney. It all started when he was 3 years old, vacationing in India.

"As my parents walked away to get tickets, I drank some water," Abhi Singh said. "In the late '70s in India, it was a different place."

He got an infection from the water.

"Over the course of the next three or four years, doctors (were) saying that something happened," Abhi Singh said. "They weren't quite sure what happened, but they figured it out it was a kidney infection."

Dr. Jeffrey Klein, transplant nephrologist for the University of Kansas Health System, said some people have kidney damage earlier in life and "slowly lose function over time."

Abhi Singh lived with the sickness for decades, but a few months ago, doctors at the University of Kansas Health System told him it was time to find a donor.

He was put on the transplant list, but it is a long wait, so the couple took to Facebook and created a website to get the word out.

Hoping for a miracle, Anna Singh also got tested.

"When I was on my way home, (I learned) that we got the match," Anna Custer-Singh said. "The call that said, 'Yeah, you are a match.'"

Abhi Singh could have waited for a deceased donor, but the survival rate with a live kidney is far better, according to Klein.

"Because we know so much about the donor and the kidney doesn't spend time on any ice, so to speak," Klein said. "The kidneys usually make urine right away and they help that intended recipient immediately, because we take away all the unknowns."

Through this journey, the family hopes to inspire someone to give a gift money can't buy.

"We have an obligation," Abhi Singh said. "People need help out there. There are more than 100,000 people on the list. Everyone has two kidneys, you only need one. Just thinking about being a good human being."

The two will have the transplant surgery on Tuesday.