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WESTMINSTER, Colo. (CBS4) – Two men found out the true meaning of friendship after one of them started having health problems. Now one of them donated a kidney to the other.
Chuck Nelson and David Baca met at a Bible study 14 years ago and became fast friends.
“If you don’t know Chuck, he doesn’t say much to you, and I don’t know how to keep quiet, so eventually I wore him down” Baca said.
They belong to the Westminster Church of Nazarene where Baca is a pastor. Over the summer their faith and friendship was put to the test. A doctor told Nelson one of his kidneys wasn’t functioning properly.
“They started talking transplant and dialysis and I thought, ‘These people are missing the ship here man, they can’t be talking about me,” Nelson said.
Nelson turned to his prayer group and friend.
“I was kind of joking — half serious, half joking and I told him, ‘Well brother I’d give you one of mine,” Baca said.
“I kind of thought at the time he’s pretty serious, so I just kind of put that in the file that you only open in case you have to,” Nelson said.
About 4 months later Nelson found out how serious he was. Baca underwent tests and found out he was a match.
“Dave called me and said, ‘Guess what?’ I said, ‘I don’t need to guess,’” Nelson said.
The transplant was performed on Valentine’s Day and doctors said it went very well.
“I tease him. I say, ‘Most people give roses and flowers and cards for Valentine’s Day, but you’ve got to be the overachiever and go with the kidney,” said Baca’s wife, Regina.
The two will forever be friends bonded by faith and now a little more.
Monday marks the 25th anniversary of the Kidney Transplant Program at Presbyterian/Saint Luke’s.