Denver husbands Reid Alexander and Rafael Díaz are truly a “perfect match” after Díaz donated a kidney to his beloved partner.
Alexander told NBC News that he was diagnosed with Alport syndrome – a genetic condition that scars the kidney and can lead to kidney disease and failure – when he was 17-years-old. He said it was “definitely scary” to grow up “thinking your kidneys are going to fail someday”.
After his diagnosis, Alexander moved on with his life, pursuing his education, moving to Denver and getting a job as a fitness instructor. In 2020, he said he matched with Díaz on Tinder, and the two hit it off immediately after their first date in August.
“We have a lot of things in common, and we make each other laugh all the time,” Díaz said. “We always spend a lot of time in the kitchen or watching movies.”
Alexander said he’d shared details about his condition with Díaz early on in their relationship. Instead of baulking at the news, Díaz asked to be tested as a donor for Alexander. Alexander insisted that the other man didn’t have to as “we were only dating a short while”.
“But he would keep talking about it,” Alexander recalled. “It felt like such a serious thing: You’re giving me your organ.”
In February, Alexander’s kidney’s worsened, and he began dialysis. A few months later, in April, Díaz and Alexander got married in an intimate ceremony.
Alexander’s health continued to decline, and Díaz decided to get tested to see if he could become a potential donor for his husband.
“He really didn’t want me to do it,” Díaz said. “He was like ‘No, no, you don’t have to’.”
He continued: “But I got tested anyway, and the doctors said we were a perfect match.”
Almost a year after their first date, Díaz and Alexander underwent surgery at the Indiana University Health Methodist Hospital in Indianapolis, and one of Díaz’s kidneys was implanted in his husband.
“To know that someone is doing this incredible thing for you, and it’s someone you love, is really an amazing feeling,” Alexander said.
Díaz told People he was in a “lot of pain” initially, but he would do it again in a heartbeat if he had to.
“It’s not only because I love him so much, but it’s also because I will be able to share life [with him] and enjoy this feeling that made [him] happy,” Díaz said.
The husbands said the “next step” in their journey is to “enjoy as much as we can” because they “never know what can happen next”, Díaz said. He added they wanted to use their story to raise awareness about the importance of organ donation.
“You never know who [may] need you for that, or where you can help,” Dìaz said. “You can help families. You can help people.”
He added: “You can help to change the life of someone else and [give] someone the opportunity that they didn’t have before. If you can do it, do it.”
In an essay for CNN, Alexander wrote that his husband “gave me more than love” as “he gave me a future”.
“Rafael and I now have a chance to build our life together,” Alexander said. “I loved him so much before, and I love him even more now.”
Friends of the couple have created a GoFundMe campaign to raise funds to help Alexander and Dìaz pay for healthcare costs and expenses while they recover from the life-changing surgery.