WESTWOOD (CBSLA.com) — A Southland advocate for the homeless is on the road to recovery after receiving the ultimate Valentine’s Day gift from his wife—a kidney.
Andy Bales, the CEO of the Union Rescue Mission, suffered from severe heart disease and kidney failure for years.
Six months ago, he had a massive heart attack and survived, but his kidneys failed and he desperately needed a donor for his rare blood type.
Bales’ wife, Bonnie, was the first to be tested as a potential kidney donor.
“Our blood types match…as if she were my daughter or my sister. I started getting worried about her and started trying to talk her out of doing it,” said Bales.
Bonnie, however, was determined to go through with the transplant after doctors said her husband wouldn’t make it past five years.
“She’s been faithful for 34 years…loved me through thick and thin. Been there beside me when I’m at my sickest and not given up on me. And then stepped forward and gave me her kidney on Valentine’s week,” said Bales.
On Monday, five days after his surgery, Bales did 165 laps around the UCLA Ronald Reagan Medical Center’s 8th floor.
He said he wanted to get home to his wife, who is recuperating with the help of their six children, as quickly as he could.
“God has been too good to me. I feel completely blessed,” Bales said. “I just need to live the life of thankfulness and joy because I’m just overflowing with joy.”