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Garden Grove couple donates pair of kidneys to save lifelong friend, her husband

Garden Grove couple donates pair of kidneys to save lifelong friend, her husband
Garden Grove couple donates pair of kidneys to save lifelong friend, her husband 02:32

From a friendship forged on the playground to a sisterhood solidified in shared experiences, Chris Morales is forever grateful after lifelong friend Debbie Thompson and her husband donated kidneys to save her and her husband Ron. 

"We go way back," said Chris. 

The two best friends first met in third grade while growing up in Westminster. They bonded even closer through their high school cheerleading team and eventually lived together after graduating high school. The two women were even each other's maid of honor. Despite the memories and shared experiences, the friends' relationship grew even stronger when doctors diagnosed Chris with a debilitating form of polycystic kidney disease 7 years ago. 

"My kidneys started failing," she said. "They said I needed a kidney transplant." 


After learning of her best friend's devastating diagnosis, Debbie stepped in and offered her own kidney. Miraculously, they were a match. 

"I just said, 'I have a kidney and if I'm healthy enough I can do it,'" she said. "I'd be happy to give her one. I just don't work without Chris."

The whole procedure of testing and transplanting Debbie's kidney to Chris took about eight months. Despite the successful operation, the two women had little time to rest. 

In 2020, Ron ran into his own kidney problems. 

"He asked me 'how do you feel?'" said Ron. "I said 'I'm tired.' He said 'You should be real tired. Your kidneys are gone.'"

Ron's kidney failure nearly killed him,

"He struggled," Chris said. "He was very sick. We almost lost him a couple times so it was to see."

That is when Brad Thompson, Debbie's husband, took a page out of his wife's book. 

"When Ron needed it I said, 'Shoot I'll give him mine," said Brad. 

Again, miraculously the two were a match. Doctors completed the transplant at Cedars Sinai Medical Center.

"He doesn't know how grateful and thankful I am for that," said Ron.

Now with four matching scars, the Moraleses are grateful for their lifelong friendship with the Thompsons. 

"This is something we're very thankful for because we have two kidneys," said Chris. "Thankful for Debbie and thankful for Brad for the gift of life."

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