ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — A Pinellas County father did not have to travel far to find the perfect match.
64-year-old Brent Simmons said his health was declining because his kidneys were failing and he needed dialysis three times a week.
"We discovered it was a rare kidney disease...it's just my kidneys don't process proteins. Evidently, I was probably born with it," said Brent.
The retired Army veteran did not have to look far for another kidney. His daughter, Krystn Simmons, was a match.
Krystn got a cake to tell her father the sweet news.
"I was ecstatic. I was so happy. It was such a long process to be able to find out if we were a match and when we found out that we were, I was on top of the world. A local bakery, Sweet Divas, made us a cake and everything. I could tell dad and surprise him," said Krystn.
Krystn said it has been hard watching her father's health decline. She said he battled COVID-19 last year. He also needed double bypass surgery. The kidney transplant is scheduled for next month in Pittsburg.
"The new kidney will basically function for the whole body and it will help me get me right back to a normal life. I mean just like nothing ever happened except for the immunosuppressants," said Brent.
Krystn has been selling chocolate-covered strawberries in Tampa Bay. She is raising money to cover expenses while she travels to Pittsburg for the surgery. She will have to take several weeks off work. She said people have shown her so much kindness.
"We’re ready. We have the strawberries. I have the chocolates and all the sprinkles if anyone wants to order. We would be really thankful," she said.
More than 100,000 people are on the national transplant waiting list, according to Donate Life. More than 85% of patients are in need of a kidney.
In 2020, thousands of lives were saved through the generosity of living donors.
"My dad gave me life so to turn around and be able to have the opportunity to do something in return for him is amazing," said Krystn.
Krystn plans to sell chocolate-covered strawberries until February 25. You can call or text Krystn at (727) 244-8065 or email her at email@example.com to place an order.