A unique story of a couple who dealt with kidney failure together

LEWISTON, ID - March is National Kidney Month, and we want to share another story with you about a wife who saved her husband's life with the gift of her organ.

KLEW News takes you to St. Joseph Regional Medical Center to meet Ken and Cheryl Hoffman.

At age 35....Ken Hoffman had a cyst on his foot. He'd later find out from his doctor that his kidney's were failing."

"He told me that it was something that my kidneys hadn't filtered out," said Ken Hoffman. "He'd take the cyst out but I had bigger problems and I'd be on dialysis."

Dialysis acts as a filtering system when the kidney can't do it for the body. A painful and physically exhausting treatment until a patient can get a kidney.

"People with chronic kidney disease that have to go on dialysis typically have to wait for three years for transplant kidney to be available for them," said SJRMC Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Michael Rooney.

Hoffman's first kidney transplant lasted for eleven years. That kidney started failing, and Hoffman needed another transplant. That's when his wife Cheryl gave her husband the most priceless gift of all.

"When you watch someone get sick, it leaves you with a very helpless feeling," said Cheryl Hoffman.

After a year of testing, Cheryl turned out to be a match for her husband. And this past December they went into surgery together.

"It wasn't a difficult decision but it was a difficult process," said Cheryl Hoffman.

"It's been about two months since I had the transplant and I'm starting to have a life again," said Ken Hoffman. "I'm not hooked to the machine, I'm not sick, I'm not grey and yellow."

Hoffman worked in construction his whole life. He said he always felt healthy and didn't feel the need to go to the doctor...a mistake he warns people against.

"Chronic kidney disease is typically caused by high blood pressure or diabetes or a combination of the two," said Dr. Michael Rooney.

"Everything that happened to me is so preventable," said Ken Hoffman. "I should've taken my blood pressure and my blood sugar. Two simple tests you can take at home."

According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, an average of 20-people die each day waiting for transplants.