TAMPA, Fla. — While some married couples are attached at the hip, you could say one Westchase husband and wife are attached at the kidney.
During the pandemic, they participated in a kidney transplant that would change their family forever.
Dominic and Anastasia Pavlinic are the last married couple you’ll find to back down from a challenge, they even met under intense circumstances.
“Hurricane Wilma in 2005, actually we wound up at the same gas station pumping gas, and we couldn’t believe we were the only two,” said Anastasia.
The couple married a few years later and then along came their daughter Milana. However, life was anything but fun and games. Dominic has a genetic disease and was in need of a kidney transplant right in the middle of a pandemic.
“I always hoped that I would be a match for him and it was always in the back of my head that this is something I wanted to do no matter what,” said Anastasia.
Although it wasn’t up to Anastasia, it was up to science.
“For every five people that get tested only one would be a match,” said Anastasia.
As it turns out, Anastasia was a match. It was then onto the next hurdle, staying COVID-free.
“We were really walking on eggshells just to make sure our daughter didn’t bring it home from school, didn’t bring it home from her friends,” said Anastasia.
In December 2020, the surgery took place, taking their marriage to a whole new level.
“At Tampa General and right before we were both pulled away from each other I thanked her and told her I loved her and we hugged each other,” said Dominic. “It brings you closer together for sure, no pun intended, you have a piece of your spouse inside of you that’s keeping you alive.”
Anastasia is no longer referred to as mom around the house, Milana and Dominic call her their hero.
“I just thought, ‘wow,’ like my mom is giving one of her organs to my dad so that's a little crazy,” said Milana.
This family just wants to remind everyone that their story may be unique but the need for organ donors is all too common. They also want to thank all the doctors, nurses and staff at Tampa General Hospital for taking such good care of them throughout this journey.
“We hope that this story inspires someone out there to donate to a family, friend, loved one or even a complete stranger,” said Dominic.