Ahead of 20th Wedding Anniversary, Wife Gives Husband the Gift of Life

William and Michelle Young

Michelle Young recently lived up to the phrase "in sickness and in health" in a big way after she donated one of her kidneys to her husband. 

It's not uncommon to mark big-number anniversaries with big-time gestures or gifts. Michelle Young went with both for her upcoming 20th wedding anniversary when she gave her husband something big on his wish list: a kidney.

Michelle's husband, Will Young, knew his need for a kidney transplant was almost a certainty after he was diagnosed with polycystic kidney disease, which took the life of his mother, according to a recent KAAL-TV report. "She went through two kidney transplants at the University of Charleston," Will tells the station. "The first one lasted 15 years. The second one wasn't so good."

It's a fate Will had been working hard to avoid. "Even after I realized I had PKD, I thought I could stave it off," he tells the station. "So for the past seven or eight years, I've been really trying to keep my creatinine down, but at some point, there's not much you can do about it."

Michelle, however, hoped there was something she could do about it. "It starts out as kind of a joke, like 'Oh, I'll give you mine," she tells KAAL of the couple's initial discussions. "And then all of a sudden you're like, 'You're getting mine.' And then you just hope it all works out, trying to will it to happen."

After extensive, sometimes exhausting testing at Mayo Clinic's Rochester campus, it did happen. "I think it's almost been kind of fun, other than sitting in bed for three days," Will tells KAAL-TV of his and Michelle's kidney transplant, a procedure Michelle says couldn't have gone better. "Our care team was out of this world," she says. "Our transplant and patient care experience as a whole was so positive. We stayed at the Gift of Life Transplant House for a week afterward and it was a wonderful place to rest and heal. I can honestly say I feel as good as I did back when I had both kidneys," Michelle says.

"We're just hoping our story will inspire others to consider living organ donation as well," she adds. "We're both really glad we chose Mayo Clinic."

And they now both have one more reason to celebrate their 20 years of marriage this summer. "We share a lot of things together, but her doing this for me, giving me a new lease on life, just makes it kind of special." (Good luck topping that anniversary gift, Will.)

You can read more of Michelle and Will's story here. Then, give us the gift of your comments below before using the social media tools atop this page to share this story with others.