Anu Philip of Heartland, Texas, underwent surgery on March 19 and was married on March 25. The 28-year-old had been discharged from the hospital 24 hours before, she said.
“Everything was planned and we did not expect a kidney at all,” Philip told ABC News. “It gave me more life to actually enjoy. Now I can travel, have children, and that was actually my main concern. I’m happy that my husband doesn’t have to experience daily struggles that I was going through in taking care of me.”
When she was 9 months old, Philip had renal failure and was diagnosed with minimal change disease — a disorder that results in abnormal kidney function, according to the Mayo Clinic.
On Dec. 6, 2011, while Philip was studying at Criswell College in Dallas, her kidney failed. She was then placed on a transplant waiting list in 2012, she said.
Three years later, Philip met her now-husband, Jeswin James, through a family member.
James proposed on May 5, 2016, and the couple set their wedding date for March 25, 2017. But a week before, Philip got the call that she had matched with a donor at Medical City Hospital in Dallas.
One day later, she received the transplant.
Dr. Matthew Mulloy, surgical director of adult and pediatric abdominal transplants at Medical City Dallas Hospital, said Philip’s surgery was successful.
“She’s young and otherwise healthy and she got a donor who was also a young, healthy donor,” Mulloy told ABC News. “The difficult part was the time constraint for us. What she and I had talked about was that the challenge would be to get her in and out of the hospital quickly and for her to make it to her wedding. … In this instant, my recommendation to her was to not pass on this donation.”
Mulloy said the normal recovery time for a transplant patient who does not experience complications is three to seven days.
“We had a week,” he added of Philip’s procedure. “[I said], ‘As long as you’re willing to walk down the aisle and not do any dancing afterward, I think you’ll be just fine.”
Mulloy said Philip’s story highlights the essential need for organ donors, especially in April, which is National Donate Life Month, he said.
Jeswin James, also 28, said he is grateful to the donor’s family for the gift that was given to his wife.
“Before the wedding, she was on dialysis for the past five years, so every day when she woke up, she very tired, very weak,” James told ABC News. “After the transplant, she’s energetic. My wife, she’s healthy, she happy, she’s full of life.”
Philip said she has written a thank you letter to the donor’s family and hopes to meet them someday.
“I am thankful or their selfless giving,” she added. “Whoever they lost, they gave me life.”