PASADENA, Texas (FOX 26) - A Pasadena man has spent the last four years searching for a kidney to help save his life. His wife decided to write a plea for help on their car window-- and finally, after years of testing, it seems like they may have found the perfect match.
Steven Stockton, 42, just wants to live long enough to watch his two teenage kids grow up.
"I want to see both of my kids graduate from high school and college. That’s the only thing I want in life. And I can’t do that if I can’t be here," Stockton said.
Complications from Type 2 diabetes caused his kidneys to fail four years ago. Since then he's been on dialysis, searching for a donor. Stockton also had both of his legs amputated over a year ago.
About two years ago, his wife, Alicia, wrote a message on the back of her car window, pleading for anyone's help. The message said, "My husband needs a kidney to live. He is listed at UTMB and Methodist. Call or text for more info," and included her cell phone number.
"I didn’t know if anybody would even respond, I just knew, I just had to try," Alicia said.
The viral response was more than anything they ever expected.
"It’s actually been shared all over the world. We’ve gotten calls from the UK, people in other countries, all across the US— asking what they can do to help," Stockton said.
One fateful day last month, Stockton met Melinda Cavazos at a drive-thru at the Oriental Wok Chinese Cafe in Pasadena. Cavazos saw the sign and the conversation went something like this, "Hey, your husband needs a kidney? Ok, I'll do it."
"Two out of over 40 people in three years-- that’s how rare it is to find that perfect match," Stockton said.
Doctors told Stockton that most patients typically only survive on dialysis for three to five years, so every day for the last four years has been like a countdown, waiting for his perfect match.
"It was like the world was lifted off my shoulders because the longer you go, the more hopeless it feels and the more desperate you feel," Stockton said.
Donating an organ is arguably one of the most selfless things a person can do for someone else, not to mention a total stranger.
"I don’t consider it saving someone’s life, I consider it prolonging someone’s life. I believe I’m giving him a chance to live a little longer. I’ve had people tell me, ‘Oh, you’re an angel.’ I’m not an angel. I’m just someone that’s trying to help," Cavazos said.
The surgery can be risky and Cavazos will be out of work for up to six weeks after the surgery. But she says that's a small price to pay to give Stockton a chance at life.
"It’s a big surgery yeah, but it’s a minor one compared to all the time I’m going to give him to live with his kids," Cavazos said.
Stockton said Cavazos is now considered part of the family.
Cavazos is scheduled to have one more final test before she gets the all clear to donate her kidney to Stockton. Once that's completed, the surgery could potentially happen sometime at the end of July.