Texoma man to receive life-saving transplant from wife
BONHAM, Texas (KTEN)-- Paul and April Park met on a church trip more than 20 years ago, and have been inseparable ever since.
"Paul walked up and he said 'Hey y'all, you ready for a church trip?' and he was so dorky! I thought, 'What a dork, I gotta take a whole trip with him!' By the time we got back from the trip, I was totally sold," April said.
In October 2016, Paul was diagnosed with fibrillary glomerulonephritis, known as FGN, a very rare kidney disease.
The doctors Paul sought treatment from didn't know how to treat him. The medications they prescribed weren't helping, and they told him there was nothing else they could do.
"They sent me home basically just to die; you know, I want to see my daughter grow up," Paul recalled. "April refused to accept it. She made phone call after phone call after phone call, and when nobody would take her seriously, she pushed me in the car, went up to doctors, dragged me up there and said, 'We need to see somebody now!'"
A few months after the diagnosis, the Paul family found a doctor near Dallas who had successfully treated two other patients with FGN.
"He was able to save what kidney function I had left at that time," Paul said.
About three years later, Paul began dialysis and was placed on the transplant list. He was told because of his age and condition, it would likely be just a few months before a donor came along.
But after waiting for six months, April knew she had to do something.
"He'd been having a hard time," April said. "I was just looking at him and thinking, 'My goodness, what if it would be me? Because I have O-negative blood.' So I knew my blood type would match him because O-negative, you can donate to anybody."
Since Paul had received transfusions a few years earlier, his antigens and April's antigens were a match.
Although he protested, Paul's wife made the decision to save his life.
"It's one thing to tell somebody you love them; it's another thing to show them you love them," Paul said. "That's what this is... she's showing me she loves me. She's always been my best friend. And 20-something years ago on that trip that we met on, we just really hit it off. This just made me fall in love with her all over again."
April has one more doctor's appointment and then the couple will be able to schedule the transplant, which they're hoping will happen in the coming weeks.
HoneyBees Boutique has made shirts to support the Park family, and all proceeds will go directly to the family.
On November 20 from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., the Texoma Regional Blood Center will be holding a blood drive for the Park family. For each donation made in Paul's name, $10 will be given to the Park family.