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Lifetime Friend Donates Gift Of Life To Best Buddy

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DALLAS (CBS11) – The bond between a pair of best friends from Dallas is proving to be stronger than ever after one gave the other the gift of life just before Christmas.

Ruben Arellano and Stephen Cook have been friends since they were 10 years old.

They met at church, went to school together, later joined the Air Force and even ended up in the same unit.

Life was good for these two until about 10 years ago when Cook was diagnosed with polycystic kidney disease, a degenerative condition where cysts grow on the kidney.

"They did tell me that eventually my kidneys would fail," said Cook.

That time came earlier this year when his kidneys began failing and the race was on to find a donor.

Knowing it would be a challenge, Cook turned to his best friend.

Given that the two friends had been through so much together, it was only fitting that Arellano was a perfect match.

"In the back of my head I always knew," said Arellano. "I never had I doubt that I was going to be a match."

The two underwent the kidney transplant surgery last week.

By Thursday, they were back home and healing well.

Cook said he got the best holiday gift he could have ever asked for.

"He gave me a gift that nobody could give me," said Cook. "The gift of time. The gift of life. The gift of health."

According to the National Kidney Foundation, 26 million American adults have kidney disease -- and most don't know it.

The National Kidney Foundation has a Rate Your Risk Quiz on its website.

(©2016 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)


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