Taesha Benson, 32, gave her boyfriend, Travis Spire-Sweet, her left kidney as the ultimate gift of love. (Image courtesy Travis Spire-Sweet)
Taesha Benson knew even beyond their relationship that being an living organ donor was the right decision for her. (Image courtesy Travis Spire-Sweet)
KANSAS CITY, KS (KCTV) -
One might not expect to receive an organ from your lover on Valentine's Day, but one Kansas City couple had a unique gift exchange of affection.
Taesha Benson, 32, gave her boyfriend, Travis Spire-Sweet, her left kidney as the ultimate gift of love.
Now 30 years old, Spire-Sweet was born with only 25 percent of a functioning kidney and wasn't expected to live past his first birthday.
After learning to cope with his chronic kidney problems, he became an advocate for other patients suffering from similar diseases and had been on the deceased donor list for more than a year.
But, thanks to the perfect match donation from his girlfriend's, he is looking forward to a healthier and longer life.
University of Kansas Hospital officials said the couple are already home from the hospital and recovering from the transplant surgery performed last week.
Benson knew even beyond their relationship that being an living organ donor was the right decision for her.
"Initially you think, ‘How could I do that? I don't have it in me,'" Benson said. "But over time I got to know Travis and his love of life. Not many people come along who have his integrity, character and optimism. Travis just happens to be my boyfriend. He has provided me with a new love of life."
Feb. 14 is universally recognized as Valentine's Day, but few are aware that National Donor Day is also celebrated that day.
National Donor Day was established in 1998 and is recognized as a time to raise awareness about the importance of organ and tissue donation.
On average, 18 people die each day waiting for transplants because of a shortage of donated organs, according to statistics.
"Living donation helps in two major ways by not taking a potential deceased donor kidney from the organ pool, so it can be used for another recipient without a living donor and it provides a living donor organ for a recipient who would otherwise have to wait years for a deceased donor kidney," surgical transplantation director Dr. Sean Kumer said. "Living donor recipients enjoy a longer organ survival on average three to five years longer than the commensurate deceased donor kidney."
But thanks to donors, like Benson, an average of 79 people are able to secure life-saving organ or tissue transplants each day.
Wednesday, May 22 2013 3:40 PM EDT2013-05-22 19:40:35 GMT
Minutes after the tornado reduced an Oklahoma elementary school to rubble, a photographer captured the courage and selflessness that overcame adults at the school in the moments after the devastation.More >
Minutes after the tornado reduced an Oklahoma elementary school to rubble, a photographer captured the courage and love as a scared little boy jumped into the arms of his next-door neighbor. More >
Wednesday, May 22 2013 10:42 AM EDT2013-05-22 14:42:42 GMT
Everyone has seen food permits hanging inside restaurants, but what does it really say about the establishment. Now, people can check if their favorite hotspot made the grade faster than they can cutMore >
Everyone has seen food permits hanging inside restaurants, but what does it really say about the establishment? Now, people can check if their favorite hot spot made the grade faster than they can cut into a steak.More >
Tuesday, May 21 2013 3:29 PM EDT2013-05-21 19:29:04 GMT
For months, concerns had been raised about the welfare of Lucas Webb. Born Jan. 3, 2008, Lucas knew much pain and suffering in his four short years. More >
State records released Monday show how Missouri social workers failed to adequately pursue allegations of abuse involving a preschooler. Lucas Webb, 4, would die five days after the state closed the abuse investigation.More >
Wednesday, May 22 2013 6:21 PM EDT2013-05-22 22:21:12 GMT
(RNN) - British officials are saying one man is dead and two others were injured in a possible terrorist attack in London on Wednesday.According to BBC News, eyewitnesses said man was attacked in a streetMore >
One man is dead after two men attacked him in broad daylight with knives and meat cleavers. More >
Wednesday, May 22 2013 7:56 PM EDT2013-05-22 23:56:01 GMT
(RNN) – Of the 24 killed in the EF-5 tornado that decimated Moore, OK, 10 are children - two of which are infants according to a release by the Oklahoma City Medical Examiner's Office. All the childrenMore >
The last of the missing from Monday's massive tornado that tore through the town of Moore, OK, have been accounted for. More >
Wednesday, May 22 2013 9:32 PM EDT2013-05-23 01:32:31 GMT
ORLANDO, FL (RNN) – A man with possible ties to a Boston Marathon bombing suspect was shot and killed after the FBI interviewed him early Wednesday. The FBI confirmed a special agent fatally shot a manMore >
A man killed Wednesday during questioning by the FBI said he and Boston bombing suspect Tamerlan Tsarnaev were accomplices in a 2011 slaying. More >
Tuesday, May 21 2013 7:16 PM EDT2013-05-21 23:16:48 GMT
MOORE, OK - The Oklahoma County Sheriff's office tweeted a photo of a frightened, muddy dog Monday after the deadly EF-5 tornado ripped through the town.The comment accompanying the photo said, "scared,More >
A heartbreaking photo of a little dog guarding the body of his owner, who was killed in the Moore, OK, tornado, is going viral.More >
Tuesday, May 21 2013 5:50 PM EDT2013-05-21 21:50:06 GMT
Shawnee police searched along westbound Interstate 70 in Kansas City, KS, Tuesday afternoon, looking for a gun used in a murder that occurred three years ago. Captain Bill Hisle with the Shawnee PoliceMore >
Shawnee police searched along westbound Interstate 70 in Kansas City, KS, Tuesday afternoon, looking for a gun used in a murder that occurred three years ago.More >