ST. GEORGE (News4Utah) - J.C. Lay was born with a hereditary disease - Alport Syndrome. It damages the tiny blood vessels in kidneys.
The disease didn't stop him from living a full life. He married and had a baby boy, but then his kidneys started to fail.
"Within a matter of two months the kidney function went, as a matter of percentage, from 20 percent all the way down to 5 percent, and then they started emergency dialysis on me," said Lay.
Playing with his son or helping his wife became impossible.
"I would pass out on the couch because I was so tired, and she'd have to take care of me, hook up my machine, take care of our son," said Lay.
His only hope for a better life was a kidney donor. After months of waiting and searching his cousin Tara Hansen, a single mother of three, decided to be tested.
"I knew from the day I filled out the application I was going to be his match," said Hansen.
Hansen was indeed the match Lay needed.
"She called me, and I think we were both overcome with emotion because it was such an exciting thing," said Lay.
There were risks though. If Hansen gave Lay her kidney, if she ever damaged her only remaining one she too would need a donor.
"When you love someone like a brother and you're watching them die, there's no way you wouldn't," said Hansen.
The transplant was a success.
"The first time I got to see him play with his little boy, when he felt good, made the whole thing worth it. I would do it over again in a heartbeat," said Hansen.
This New Year another miracle is coming to the Lay family - a baby boy.
"He's due in May. We're getting excited. We're getting the room all ready," said Lay.
"He has another little boy on the way, so it definitely makes it all worth it," said Hansen.
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