LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - A professor at SFA is giving a special gift this holiday. It's something you can't buy at a store or online, but it's one a one-in-a-million match that will change his 24-year-old nephew's life.
Clint Ivy was diagnosed with renal failure at just five years old.
"My kidneys just weren't properly formed. At seven, was when I had my first surgery, my mother donated the kidney, and it was fine until this May when I was diagnosed that this second kidney was failing," Ivy said.
His first kidney transplant brought him 17 years of relief until earlier this year.
"It's just really painful, and you feel weak and tired all the time and nauseated," Ivy said. "It's a lot of symptoms."
Ivy works in e-commerce at Goodwill in Lufkin and he has even had to stay home some days to rest and recover from his symptoms.
Right after learning he would need a new kidney, he found his perfect match.
"Just immediately after, my uncle stepped up, got tested, and was a match," Ivy said.
His uncle Jay Thornton, a professor of Kinesiology at SFA, said it was an easy decision to make. "Yes. There was no hesitation. Faith and family," Thornton said.
Thornton said there was a lot to do before he could be a viable donor including meeting with a psychologist, a social worker, and doctors to make sure he was physically, mentally, and financially able to make this decision.
"They want to make sure I'm healthy enough to be a living donor," Thornton said. "When I first found out that I was going to do the surgery then you start thinking, oh, 'This is going to happen,' and just like Clint said you know you're nervous."
Thornton has never had surgery but never hesitated in making the decision to donate.
"It's a great feeling, but it's a humbling experience that we have the capability to help someone else," Thornton said.
Ivy said he can't wait to start feeling better.
"They said it's going to be an immediate change in how I'm feeling," Ivy said. "I'm going to be feeling a lot better."
Both Ivy and Thornton hope that others will find out if they can be a match for someone.
According to the United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS) there are more than 120,000 people on the waiting list for organ transplants.
Ivy and Thornton's surgery took place last week. Both are healthy and recovering well, according to Ivy's mother. Thornton was released from the hospital Sunday and Ivy is scheduled to be released Monday but will remain in Houston for a while to be close to doctors.