KANSAS CITY, Kan. — Before the sun rose Tuesday, Abhi Singh and his wife, Anna Custer-Singh, were about to have their lives changed forever.
"I am getting a new kidney from my lovely wife," Singh said.
Custer-Singh added, "I am giving my husband a kidney, my left one."
Singh got a kidney infection on a trip to India when he was 3 years old. Decades later, doctors told him he needed a transplant.
It turned out that his wife was a perfect candidate to save his life.
"(I'm) excited, a little bit of anxiety," Singh said. "Looking to getting it done and moving forward."
Live donations are somewhat rare.
According to OrganDonor.Gov, 17,553 people donated organs in 2018, but only 6,831 were living donors.
Doctors at the University of Kansas Health System only do live donations about 40 times a year, so this day was extra special for everyone involved.
"It's one of my favorite operations, because you get to see immediately the effect of donation for the family and get to see the patient get better right away," Dr. Tim Schmitt, director of transplant at the University of Kansas Health System said. 'It's such a great experience for everybody involved."
The couple FaceTimed with their son before giving each other a hug and kiss and saying goodbye.
The operation took under three hours and all went well, according to the hospital
Singh knows there are people hoping for their own miracle and shared this message for those still on the waiting list: "Have hope, have hope and share your story."
Custer-Singh's message is to get others to donate.
"So many people can benefit, ya know?" she said. "Might not be your husband, your child or your grandmother, but it's somebody whose life is going to make an impact and you're giving is going to make an impact on them and their loved ones."
The couple will remain in the hospital for a few days and doctors said they will be sore for several weeks.