Son Wins Father’s Day With Life-Saving Gift

Robert and Ricky Sanden

Robert Sanden's gift of a kidney from his son Ricky was a welcome surprise after more than a decade of living with polycystic kidney disease.

Ah, Father's Day. The day we shower the dads in our lives with the thanks, appreciation and ties they deserve. This year, Ricky Sanden put all of our collective showering to shame when he gave his dad ... a kidney. "I don't know if I'll be able to top this one," Ricky tells the Rochester Post-Bulletin. "Expectations better not be high."

As the P-B reports, Ricky's life-saving Father's Day gift came about two years after Robert was placed on the waiting list for a kidney. Polycystic kidney disease, which he'd been fighting for more than a decade, had taken a toll on his kidney function. The paper reports Ricky's sister, Cassie, had planned to go through the living donor testing process at Mayo Clinic, but when that fell through, Ricky stepped in.

What he stepped into, Ricky tells us, was the long and thorough testing process that would determine he was a match for Robert, his adoptive father. When Ricky shared the good news that Robert would indeed be receiving a kidney transplant, the shock was almost too much for Robert and his wife, Kerry Sanden, to bear. "When we got the call that Ricky was a match, I think we cried all night long," Kerry tells the paper. "Tears of joy, of course. … It's just really amazing that Ricky has done this for his dad — for our whole family, really."

Ricky tells us what he finds most amazing is that the entire transplant process wasn't nearly as scary or painful as he thought it would be. "I honestly thought I'd be in more pain or not be able to move around much," he says. "But I was up and walking around the same day, and I'm in no pain right now. I feel great."

And so, too, will Robert. "They keep telling me I am going to feel so much better. I can't wait," he tells the paper.

It's a wait that will now be much shorter thanks to the selflessness of his son. "Don't be scared to do it," Ricky tells us of becoming a living organ donor. "There's really no downside. It's just a great thing to do for someone."

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