By Kathy Walsh
PARKER, Colo. (CBS4) – A pair of strangers are now connected for life. In April, one gave the other a kidney. They never met until months after the transplant. The living donor just wanted to give to someone in need.
“Tired, you’re tired extremely quickly,” said 68-year-old Bert van de Flier of Parker.
The former fencing champion in the Netherlands, international businessman, sailor and grandpa wasn’t used to that. But polycystic kidney disease killed van de Flier’s mother and grandmother. He inherited the disease and in June of 2015 — his kidneys were failing.
“We live on a hill and I could not go down a hill walking anymore,” said van de Flier.
“I was excited to meet this person,” said Brad Davis of Aurora.
At 58, he is a former administrator of physicians’ groups, now self-employed and active with his grown sons. Davis had two healthy kidneys and a burning desire to give one of them away.
“I decided I wanted to do something now to help someone,” Davis said.
The day CBS4 Health Specialist Kathy Walsh spoke with the two men marked just the third time they had met, but they are closer than brothers.
“We are now joined above the hip. That’s where your kidneys are,” van de Flier chuckled.
In April, the two were paired up at Porter Adventist Hospital Transplant Center. According to transplant surgeon Dr. Min Yoo, “In terms of age, tissue typing, size match, too, they seemed like a great match.”
The men didn’t finally meet until three months after the transplant surgery.
“I will be forever unbelievably grateful,” said an emotional van de Flier. “I can see my 2 1/2-year-old granddaughter graduate if it stays like this.”
“If I had three or four (kidneys), I’d do it again,” said Davis. “It has made me more aware of how special life is.”
Two strangers are now friends with a bond above the hip and in the heart.
For more information about the Transplant Center at Porter or to make an appointment, call (720) 410-6504, or toll free (855) 869-5164.