Couple Celebrates Christmas After Hardships

Russell Family on the Mend From Surgeries

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Russell Family celebrates Christmas after surviving several medical hardships (Published Saturday, Dec 24, 2011)

    A McKinney family is counting its blessings this Christmas. A husband and wife both had organ transplants, and their twin babies were born premature. But now, everyone is out of the hospital, just in time for the holidays.

    Wendy Russell is a type 1 diabetic. Her pancreas failed and then her kidneys. Two years ago, she got transplants for both organs from a deceased donor. Everything was going well until late last year.

    "I was shocked because you know, it was just the most bizarre. I call it cruel irony," she said.

    The joy of becoming pregnant with twins turned into sorrow for her husband, Kevin, who started suffering kidney failure for a totally different reason -- too much protein in his kidneys.

    "I was a little bit shocked that i had to go through the same thing," he said.

    Luke and Grace were born premature, while Kevin was going through dialysis, waiting for a kidney donor. It went on for seven months.

    "It was three nights a week that I was sitting in a chair hooked up to a machine keeping me alive. And now I don't need that anymore," said Kevin.

    His older brother, David, stepped up. His kidney was a match.

    "There was no hesitation. He's my brother," said David.

    Earlier this month, the two brothers went through transplant surgery at Baylor Hospital. And while they're still not fully recovered, they can celebrate Christmas with the rest of their family, including their now-healthy twins.

    "He's given me a part of him, and in the process, given me my life back," said Kevin.

    "He gave Kevin his life back. He gave me my husband back. And he gave his children many healthy years with his father, which I think is the greatest gift of all," said Wendy.