Oklahomans Give Thanks After Successful Kidney Transplant Surgeries

Wednesday, November 21st 2012, 6:55 pm
By: News 9

A pair of life-saving surgeries here in the metro gives two Oklahoma families something to truly be thankful for this Thanksgiving.

Two men received new kidneys from their best friends.

Kyle Winters and Garrett Reed both had kidney transplants in the past that, unfortunately, failed. But each of them had a friend willing to donate a kidney without hesitation; an incredible act of kindness they're giving thanks for.

Miles Baker and Garrett Reed grew up together in Snyder, Okla. The friends have been doing rodeo competitions for years. And when Garrett needed a new kidney, Miles didn't hesitate.

"Nothing struck a spark in my mind to do it," Baker says. "I just knew about his health, I knew he was weak, [and] I knew he could be better off."

Garrett had a kidney transplant in 2005 that failed. Before surgery last month, he'd been on dialysis for nine months.

"I was driving up here two days a week for dialysis, going to class two days a week and just roping when I could and you'd just get so run down and tired, you can't hardly do much," Reed said.

Transplant surgery at OU Medical Center has changed his life. It's changed the life of Kyle Winters too.

"I thought it was the thing to do," Kenneth Morrison donated his kidney to Kyle in late September.

"I had several people at work tell me 'Sure I'll give you a kidney. Tell me what I need to do." People say [that] because they do care, but doesn't mean they're going to go through with the whole process," said Kyle. 

Doctors say both surgeries were successful. And all four men are thankful for friendship this Thanksgiving.

On Wednesday, one surgeon pointed out that  because Kyle and Garrett received kidneys from living donors, two other people in need of a new kidney are now one step closer. They've moved up on the donor list now too.

Doctors say kidneys from unrelated living donors are rare, fewer than half a percent.

More than 90,000 people are currently on the national kidney transplant waiting list.