Would You Give Your Valentine a Kidney?

Some people give flowers or chocolate, or even a charm bracelet. One woman gave her sweetheart a much-needed kidney

I am an admitted sap when it comes to Valentine's Day, ritually selecting cards to mail to my 10 closest relatives, picking out heart-shaped boxes of treats for my grown children and happily receiving my customary favorite box of chocolates from my husband, a purchase he feels obliged to make. During our courtship in college, I once snuck over on Valentine's Day to decorate his house with red and white colored hearts before he awoke, but he still only grudgingly 'celebrates' a holiday he laments is purely commercial. Truth is, there are more than a few couples who exchange small gifts or go to dinner because that's just we're supposed do on Valentine's Day.

Taesha Benson went a different way this year. She gave her boyfriend of 10 months, Travis Spire-Sweet, something a little more meaningful -- her left kidney. Spire-Sweet, 30, was born with only 25 percent of a functioning kidney and Bensen, 32, was a perfect match. The kidney transplant was performed last week at The University of Kansas Hospital, and both of them are now home and recovering well, just in time for Valentine's Day.

Even though February 14th is generally Cupid's time to shine, it's also National Donor Day. Started in 1998 by the Saturn Corporation and its United Auto Workers partners, with support from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and other nonprofit organizations, it was created to raise awareness of the desperate need for organ donors. National Donor Day encourages people to give blood and get on the registries used to find matching donors for bone marrow, live tissue and organs. Currently, 117,049 are waiting for an organ donation and 18 of them die each day. If you want the opportunity to save someone's live someday, you can register online to be a tissue or organ donor. Go to the Donate Life website to find out how to register in your state. (Or visit Organdonor.gov for more information). Jennifer Tislerics, with Gift of Life Michigan, suggests that you share the love by letting your family and friends know you've signed up and urge them to do the same.

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