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Question of the Day: Would You Donate A Kidney To Your Husband’s Ex-Wife?

Credit: AP Photo/John Raoux

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Would You Donate A Kidney To Your Husband's Ex-Wife?

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A Florida woman was scheduled to donate a kidney just two days after her wedding to her new husband — and the kidney went to her husband’s ex-wife.

Debby Neal-Strickland married Jim Merthe on Nov. 22 after a 10-year delay in part due to their children announcing their own engagements as well as COVID delays. But when Debby found out her husband’s ex-wife Mylaen Merthe needed a new kidney, two days later she swapped a lace gown for a hospital gown.

According to the Associated Press, Mylaen, 59, had long struggled with kidney disease, with her kidneys only functioning at 8% by November 2020. Jim and Mylaen had been divorced nearly two decades, but they got along well and raised their children together, with the two women being friendly at family gatherings.

Debby knew Mylaen was about to become a grandmother for the first time as her daughter was pregnant. She imagined Mylaen’s daughter giving birth, “and her mom not being there. I just couldn’t not try to change that,” she told the AP. “God told me, ‘You’re a match and you need to do this.’”

Debby’s desire to help Mylaen ran deep, spending years watching her brother die of cystic fibrosis while awaiting a double lung transplant. She offered one of her lungs, but she wasn’t a match and he needed two.

“When somebody needs an organ, if they don’t get it, they’re probably not going to make it,” Debby said. “I know it’s something that you do quickly.”

The AP says the women call themselves kidney sisters, pray for each other, admire their grandchildren together, and are planning a family trip to Georgia this summer.

“This is what the world is about. Family. We need to stick together,” Mylaen said. “She saved my life.”

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