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Mitch York – Kidney Transplant Success Story

A kidney transplant from a stranger gives new life to father

Linda Canedy Mitch York (left) and Matt Deffebach now share a life-saving bond as kidney transplant recipient and donor at the Methodist Dallas Transplant Institute

A mother’s love and the heart-lifting generosity of an organ donor can create bonds that make strangers into brothers.

Literally, that’s the story of how two men came together in January 2010 at Methodist Dallas for a life-saving transplant that promises to link their lives for a lifetime as brothers by choice.

Mitch York, a Garland Lowe’s store manager, and Matt Deffebach, a labor and employment partner with Haynes and Boone in Houston, now share a connection as close as most brothers by birth. A year ago they didn’t know one another. Now Mitch has hope for a longer, more normal life thanks to a kidney donation from Matt and transplant surgery at the Methodist Dallas Transplant Institute.

Mitch has suffered increasing health challenges from inherited kidney disease and had been on an organ waiting list the past three years. Friends and family donors were not compatible matches, nor his rare blood type. When his mother discussed the

serious situation a few months ago with her employer at the Dallas law firm office, he decided to share the story with employees throughout its offices around the country. Matt read the story at the firm’s Houston branch and says he recalled Mitch’s mom from when he worked some cases out of the Dallas office.

“I remember reading it and his situation hit me very hard. We’re both fathers of young children and I just couldn’t imagine what I’d do in his situation,” says Matt. “I’d hope someone would step up for me if I needed it.” In less than 12 hours, he and his wife had talked, and he stepped up to be tested. “I felt like I was called to answer this e-mail.” That was around Thanksgiving and the two men met soon after. Matt went through the testing process and his compatibility was confirmed – a true gift on the day after Christmas.

“It was an amazing match,” said the Methodist Senior Transplant Coordinator – one that couldn’t have been more perfect if the men were real brothers.

Visiting in their Methodist hospital rooms, Mitch’s dad, William, beams at both as if they are indeed both his sons. And Mitch’s mom has deeply thankful praise. “The selfless act of Matt and his wife is just beyond words and is absolutely amazing – they worked together to give life to another,” says Mitch’s mom. “My family is so indebted to Matt and his family, and now we are all one family.”