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Couple's kidney transplant ordeal inspires South Florida artist's latest collection

Miami Artist Gabriel Delgado Donates Kidney To Wife
Miami Artist Gabriel Delgado Donates Kidney To Wife 04:44
Melissa and Gabriel Delgado during their transplant operation. Special

MIAMI -- Gabriel Delgado is an artist who also became a mathematician of sorts out of necessity after he found out his wife Melissa needed a kidney transplant.

"I was doing these conceptual math equations before we found out Melissa had kidney disease," he said. "And I was working on breaking apart what emotions were happiness and sadness and that kind of thing."

The news devastated Delgado.

"It was like his entire world was crashing down around him," gallery owner Lisa Burgess said. "And you know it's justifiable to feel that way."

The Delgados were heartbroken with Melissa in kidney failure and her condition worsening.

"I would lose weight pretty much monthly," she said. "I would have tiredness, I would feel fatigue, I would feel just a little bit worn out."

But Gabriel knew getting tested and donating his kidney would set up a chain reaction and Melissa would hopefully get her match.

He started the process and doctors soon realized a miracle: in a one-in-100,000th chance they were a match.

"A lot of relief," Gabriel said.  "Yeah, a lot of relief because we didn't have to, you know you see people putting out billboards, you see people doing messages on the side of airplanes looking for matches and we found one immediately.".

Just like that Gabriel gave up a piece of him for the love of his life.

"When you're in a family you wanna take care of them in any way you can," he  said "There were no qualms about doing that. It was just a gut reaction."

In June of this year the couple completed the surgical procedure. The surgery was a success and the inspiration for his latest series.

"So I began thinking about what I was dealing with, what my wife was dealing with, and thinking how I can portray in words and math equations, and artwork all these mixed emotions," Gabriel said.

Several months later, a new collection was born. A series about the couple's experience, Gabriel's gifts and paying it forward.

A percentage of the sales of the pieces goes to the Memorial Transplant Institute and The National Kidney Donation Organization.

"It's our way to give back," Gabriel said. "It's our way to give back within the context of who I am as a professional artist."

Melissa says the gift of life from her husband is something she will never be able to fully thank him for.

"This has brought us even closer," Melissa said. "I think that the words that I share a piece of you inside of me it's just endearing, and we can't ever move forward without thinking about that."

Gabriel says he will always think of that for years to come.

"You're looking at many, many decades of togetherness," he said.

Gabriel's artwork will be on display and for sale at Art Miami from Dec. 5 to Dec. 10 with 20 percent of the proceeds donated to help others dealing with what his family did.  

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