Two East Texas brothers share a special bond — and now, an organ.
They're the faces of Methodist Dallas Medical Center's 100th kidney transplant of 2018.
Ryan Massengale, 31, hasn't loved his bad kidneys.
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“I couldn't go to the doctor, couldn’t go to an ER for anything without my kidneys always being brought up in, ‘oh this numbers up and this levels wrong.’ It's something we've known for a long time,” Massengale said.
They've been a problem since birth. One had to go at just 2-years-old. The other was quickly fading. He was facing dialysis.
“He got to the point to where he needed this transplant, so I was just kinda like, 'alright, let me know what I need to do,'” said Caleb Massengale, his kidney donor.
Ryan's younger brother, Caleb, just 23, didn't hesitate to get tested.
“I think I've asked him probably at least once a week, 'are you really sure about this?' And he's like, 'yeah.' It was never a question,” said the older brother.
Caleb was the first to be screened and doctors say he was a nearly perfect match. The duo traded their Christmas clothes for gowns on Dec. 26. They were separated until the next day.
“It was nice to know that it had gone successfully and that the surgeons did their job really well,” Caleb Massengale said.
Their transplant team is very optimistic about the outcome for this young father of three.
“He was a very good match and that makes a difference for the long-term survival of the kidney,” said Dr. Richard Dickerman, the surgical director of the kidney & pancreas transplant program. “It is a lifesaving thing his brother has done for him, he saved his life.”
And while live donors like Caleb have a new set of rules to live by, their gift value is something you just can't measure.
“No kickboxing, wrestling, stuff like that but otherwise they're completely normal," said Dr. Irfan Agha, a transplant nephrologist.
When asked how this gift ranks on his Christmas list, Ryan said it’s unbeatable.
“I'm gonna say it's an easy one. Yeah, it probably won't be topped,” he said.
“Maybe he might need a liver or something, who knows,” Caleb Massengale laughed.
Ryan now has a healthy kidney he treasures — a special holiday memory, and they both have the scars to prove it.
As of writing, across the country there are more than 114,000 people on a transplant waiting list. You might be the right match for one of them. To find out more about becoming an organ donor and the possibilities of being a live donor, visit Donate Life Texas.