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Selfless gift of life paid back to San Diego family

Posted: 6:11 PM, Jul 27, 2018
Updated: 2018-07-28 01:52:38Z

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) - When Gary Mills was diagnosed with Stage 5 kidney disease in 2016 his life was put on hold.

"We travel full-time in our motorhome, that meant that stopped," said Gary.

None of his friends or family were donor matches, but his wife Georgann was still able to help.

Through a kidney exchange , Georgann's kidney would go to a stranger in need and Gary would get a kidney back in return. But at the last minute, Gary's donor backed out. 

"It's heartbreaking to have to call and say 'Hey Gary, this transplant is not going to happen tomorrow,'" remembers Sharp Memorial Hospital Transplant Coordinator, Tammy Wright.

Georgann decided she would still donate her kidney in hopes Gary would eventually get one.

This month, he finally did.

"Of course in the back of your mind you think, is it going to be canceled again?" said Gary. "I feel real lucky."

Gary's kidney came from a Maryland police officer named Eugene who donated so that his mom could get a kidney in return.

"Everybody is grateful to everybody in the chain!" said Gary.

The Mills want people to know you can help a loved one even if you're not a match for them.

Sharp Memorial has done more than 55 living transplants through the National Kidney Registry.

If you are healthy and interested in donating your kidney, you can begin the process online .

While Gary and Georgann are looking forward to getting back on the road, they are now up against costly medical expenses. A Go Fund Me has been set up to help with the financial strain.