Columbia Fire marshal receives kidney after wife donates for exchange

Columbia Fire Marshall receives kidney after wife donates for exchange
George Adams received a kidney after his wife donated hers in an exchange program at MUSC. (WIS)
George Adams received a kidney after his wife donated hers in an exchange program at MUSC. (WIS)
George Adams is a fire Marshal with the Columbia Fire Department. (WIS)
George Adams is a fire Marshal with the Columbia Fire Department. (WIS)

COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - Most of us know the typical wedding vows "for better or worse." But what about "for sickness and in health?"

For one Midlands couple, it was put to the test.

Columbia Fire Marshal George Adams has battled a kidney disease called Membranous Nephropathy since he was diagnosed 15 years ago.

He says the disease was manageable most of his life. Most of his sickness would be in the morning and would last about 30 minutes.

"But physically I knew it was taking a toll on the body and also mentally. And a lot of people are not aware that the kidney affects a lot of parts of your body and often times, you're not able to make proper decisions because you're just exhausted," Adams said.

Adams said it started getting worse in 2013. He "dealt with swelling in his legs, shortness of breath and overall would be tired."

Being a father of three, and a fire marshal for the Columbia Fire Department, the symptoms were difficult to deal with.

In 2016, doctors told George he was in the fourth stage of renal failure, meaning soon enough, he would need dialysis or a kidney transplant.

"When I went to the doctor, the doctor said my condition was getting worse. And it was time to make a decision," Adams said. "I told him I prefer to have a kidney transplant rather than go on dialysis."

Unfortunately, his wife and his close relatives weren't a match for him or didn't qualify as donors.

"I wanted to give to him. But I will never forget, we went to the doctor and I said I would love to give to my husband. But I can't, I'm not his same blood type," Monica Adams, George's wife, said.

George Adams was placed on a kidney waiting list at the Medical University of SC in Charleston.

George and his wife Monica learned about a kidney exchange program with MUSC- where if you're not a match for a loved one, you could donate your kidney to someone else and doctors would find another match for you.

"As soon as the doctor said that there was a kidney exchange program I decided right then," Monica Adams said.

Monica signed up for the program, and she was a match for another transplant candidate.

Monica Adam's kidney was removed on May 29.

"I never had any second thoughts about it. As soon as they said 'well you can give,' that was it. I never doubted it, I never had any second thoughts because I knew that I was giving for my husband and for someone else who really needed it," Monica Adams said.

On May 30, George Adams received his kidney transplant.

Not only did George receive a kidney, three other people did as well.

"There were eight people in the chain that gave or received kidneys," Monica Adams said. "I was actually able to meet my recipient, and just to see the look on his face, I mean you can't explain it."

George tells WIS he has no more morning sickness and is hopeful to return to a "normal" life.

On August 11, there will be a 'Fish Fry' fundraiser at Tony Thomas Family Karate from 4 to 8 p.m.

It is $10  per plate, and all the proceeds will benefit George Adams on his kidney transplant and Monica Adams on her kidney donation.

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