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MIAMI, FL – Three couples were complete strangers until a Florida hospital ignited a special bond.
Three separate families, now with a unique connection.
"There's a physical bond between us... Carry him around with me for the rest of my life," said Dale Jasko.
Mary Rivero Morales and her husband Omar Figueroa, and Alana Gonzales and her husband Gabriel Garcia met for the first time after a three-way kidney exchange.
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"It's impressive knowing we are the pioneers of this pair exchange program," said Alana.
When 64-year-old Dale's hypertension and diabetes led to kidney failure, his son Jonathan wanted to donate his kidney.
But he wasn't 100 percent compatible.
In the meantime, Mary had a condition by which her kidneys didn't properly filter blood and eventually failed. Her husband was not a match.
And Alana's lupus caused kidney failure, despite dialysis. Her husband didn't match either.
While they waited for transplants, their quality of life was not ideal. Alana missed some quality time with her son. "I was very limited of the things I was able to do with him ... Being part of his activities ... See him grow," she said.
After a three-way swap, these donors may not have matched their loved ones but they have matched others.
Jonathan donated to Alana, Omar donated to Dale, and Gabriel donated to Mary.
"I was so nervous, just wanted to see that face that gave me a second chance. He's only 22 years old. It's just wonderful and I hope we can have a longtime friendship," said Alana.
"I'm looking forward to staying in touch with him over my lifetime because he's done a wonderful thing for me," said Dale.
The three-way swap, the first ever in Florida, took place at Jackson Memorial Hospital.
"This would open doors for other people that have been denied but have donors in other places," said Giselle Guerra, M.D. of Miami Transplant Institute.
In this trifecta, three people gave life to three strangers.
"There are not words [to express] how I feel right now. I wanted to cry but I kept myself from crying," said Alana.
All three surgeries were a success, and the prognosis for everyone involved is good.
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